The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires regular inspection of electrical cords and ground fault systems for "assured grounding." Inspection of electrical equipment that is not part of the building structure is required in construction sites. The inspector must record the inspections and may use a color code or other device to show the last inspection. There is no OSHA requirement for specific colors, but the construction industry has adopted a common practice.
OSHA Recordkeeping Regulations
OSHA requires that electrical cords and ground fault devices attached to them be regularly inspected and a record kept of inspections. OSHA states that "this record shall be kept by means of logs, color coding, or other effective means and shall be maintained until replaced by a more current record." There is no OSHA requirement for using specific colors or that a contractor or business owner color code inspected cords. OSHA requires inspections, a record keeping system and a program to maintain inspection records.
OSHA Inspection Requirements
OSHA requires a variety of inspections for electrical cords and equipment. These inspections include a daily visual condition check, a quarterly electrical continuity check for cords and a ground fault check for ground fault circuit interruption (GFCI) devices. OSHA requires additional inspections for electrical cords that have been repaired and returned to service and for cords that are moved to other locations after being in service.
Color Coding of Inspected Cords
Construction and electrical contractors have developed a common color coding for electrical inspections. They use the "seasonal color" scheme for quarterly inspections: white for winter (January, February and March); green for spring (April, May and June); red for summer (July, August and September); orange for autumn (October, November and December). If a company desires to use a monthly inspection frequency, a second color may be added. An example would be to add yellow for the second month of any quarter and blue for the third month in any quarter. A monthly inspection color for May would be green and yellow, or for December would be orange and blue.
Paul Richard began writing in 2002 after a career in chemical processing, refrigerant alternatives and workplace safety. He has written articles for the "Cecil Whig" and "Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News." Richard holds a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Akron.