Toolbox Talk: Voltage Testing

By Nov 15, 2021
Voltage testing | Getty Images / wattanaphob




This briefing outlines the key steps involved with voltage testing.

An employee performing voltage testing must follow the accepted procedure for checking for the presence of voltage and take the necessary steps to verify its absence. The employee should be familiar with the maximum voltage potential and wear PPE at least equal to that voltage.

Using Voltage Meters

For commissioning of electrical service and troubleshooting, select properly rated voltage meters with the appropriate category for the maximum voltage that could potentially be encountered.

  1. Identify the circuit(s) to be tested.

  2. Determine the source of the circuit(s).

  3. Determine the maximum nominal voltage that could be present.

  4. Perform a shock risk assessment.

  5. Perform an arc flash risk assessment.

  6. Select the appropriate PPE for use.

  7. Review the procedures for proper meter operation.

    • Verify proper operation of the voltage detector.

    • Test the voltage.

    • Retest on original source to verify proper voltage detector operation.

  8. Implement lockout/tagout requirements.

  9. Determine the working clearances.

Getty Images / spates

Any employee conducting voltage testing must:

  • Be able to demonstrate and have knowledge related to the construction and operation of the voltage meter being used

  • Have received safety training to identify and avoid the hazards associated with the procedure

  • Be familiar with the appropriate rating of rubber protective goods, their correct use and their limitations in protection offered

  • Be aware of the arc rating of garments and choose the appropriate PPE category for the exposure

  • Know the proper working clearances around electrical equipment

  • Ensure proper illumination around tested equipment can prevent accidents resulting from blind reaching or poor visibility

Benefits of sharing this information

  • Ensures qualified workers will be performing required tasks

  • Demonstrates compliance with all applicable OSHA and NFPA requirements, including NFPA 70E and OSHA regulations

  • Incorporates risk-management procedures

  • Follows proper rules for establishing an electrically safe working condition


  • NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace

  • OSHA 29 CFR 1926, Safety and Health Regulations for Construction

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