The NFPA or National Fire Protection Association is responsible for creating the NFPA 70E which is the standard for electrical safety within the workplace. When it comes to electrical safety in the workplace, there are basically three different types of electrical hazards; they are electrical shock, electrical arc flash, and electrical arc blast. It is very important to understand and follow the safety practices outlined by the NFPA since working with electricity may expose workers to hazards leading to either irreversible bodily damage or even death. However, just like everything else in life, rules and standards change and improve over time. In order to further improve the safety practices and standards in place, the NFPA issued some new and important changes in their NFPA 70E guidelines due to an important update. The changes can be found in the 2012 edition of the NFPA 70E book of rules and regulations. There are literally hundreds of changes that can be identified within the 2012 updated book.
NFPA 70e updates
- Article 100 – There are a couple major changes in this section. First off, flame resistant clothing used to be considered an acceptable form of PPE. However, new guidelines now mandate that flame resistant PPE is simply not enough; instead acceptable PPE needs to be “arc-rated.” Furthermore, the term “Arc Flash Protection Boundary” is now just simply known as an “Arc Flash Boundary.” The word “Protection” was deleted and a new informational note was added to describe the hazard. The note describes the possibility for a second degree burn with only 1.2 cal/cm2.
- Article 110 – An abundance of changes have occurred within this article. We will outline only a few of the major changes here. For instance, paragraph 110.1 (C) (1) mandates that any meeting between a host employer and external contractor be documented. In addition, 110.2 (C) deals with training requirements for emergency procedures. This section dictates that employees who are electrically certified to respond to an accident also have further certification, such as AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) training in addition to CPR training.
- Article 130 – This section deals primarily with Arc Flash Hazard Analysis. Paragraph 130.2 was updated through some different arrangements, while 130.2(B) (1) now requires an energized work permit when an employee is working within the limited approach boundary or arc flash boundary. Furthermore, paragraph 130.4 (B) and (C) regarding DC Shock Protection Boundaries states that DC Shock Protection information has now been added to a new table in the same format as the AC table.
In order to best understand these significant changes, it essential that the new 2012 edition of NFPA 70E book of rules and regulations be utilized. The book contains hundreds of changes regarding electrical safety updates, while we were only able to outline just a handful of changes here. The seriousness of electrical safety should never be overlooked, injuries associated with electricity can happen quickly and without any warning. Take the next step towards improving the electrical safety compliance within your workplace, and pick up the 2012 NFPA 70E updates today.
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