Electrical Safety: AEGCP vs. GFCI

Accidents involving electricity are common on construction jobsites. What can you do to prevent electrical injuries? There are two options: using ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) or an assured equipment-grounding conductor program (AEGCP).

So, what is the difference between the two?

A GFCI will detect an imbalance between the energized conductor and the return neutral conductor. An imbalance occurs, for instance, when the current leaks from a tool through the body of a person who is grounded. At this point, the GFCI would trip and immediately stop the flow. GFCIs are available as portable devices or can be installed in a circuit. This is essentially a hardware requirement.

When a GFCI cannot be used due to design or because it creates a greater hazard by interrupting power for temporary wiring methods or extension cord sets providing power to portable electric tools, then a documented Assured Equipment-Grounding Conductor Program (AEGCP) is required to be maintained and implemented.

An AEGCP is a written company procedure that requires periodic testing of all equipment-grounding conductors of cord sets and of those connected to receptacles to ensure no faults will occur. The company must keep records of the continuity and terminal connection tests. Moreover, a designated competent person must continuously enforce the AEGCP at the site.

Here are some links from OSHA’s website that might be useful in helping you meet all electrical safety requirements:

This information is provided as a service to you by Compliance Consultants, Inc.

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