The acronym NFPA may have been referred to during a business meeting, read on a safety manual, or even heard on a television commercial, but what does NFPA really stand for and what is its purpose? Even though many people may be unfamiliar with the NFPA, it really is quite a large and helpful organization. NFPA stands for National Fire Protection Association. The NFPA is a non-profit organization has quite historical roots as it was originated way back in 1896 by a group of insurance companies during the time when fire sprinkler systems were just gaining in importance for fire protection and damage reduction. However, today the NFPA includes members from many different business endeavors such as fire departments, manufacturing associations, fire insurance companies, and various trade unions.
What is the NFPA 70 or National Electric Code?
Even though the NFPA provides a wide array of hazard awareness materials and codes for everything from health hazards to flammability hazards to electrical hazards, we are going to focus in on electrical hazards. Electrical hazards are a true threat within many industrial work environments. In fact, the threat of electrical danger is so expansive that it has actually made the list of OSHA’s 10 most common violations for workplace safety several years in a row. Many industrial workers are faced with dangerous electrical situations on a daily basis especially people who work in the positions of engineers or electricians. The NFPA 70 is a set of guidelines that help to make working near and with electricity safer. However, it is important to note that even though NFPA safety guidelines are helpful and often adopted on more of a state or local level, they are not enforced or accepted as United States laws.
Areas of Protection
There are many guidelines addressed in the NFPA 70 that make working with electrical hazards safer for employees. Here are some of the main areas of protection addressed: grounding of wires, fire alarm equipment, physical protection, abandoned supply circuits, communications equipment, temperature ratings, special requirements for information technology equipment room, among many other important guidelines. For instance, when it comes to the guidelines regarding the temperature ratings for cables, it is recommended that the temperature rating listed on the cable is the maximum amount of heat or power the cable can safety carry yet still work efficiently. If the heat or power rises above the temperature rating, there is a likely possibility that the cable will self-ignite, melt, or oxidize thus causing an electrical fire hazard.
On the job injuries are declining due to helpful information and safety guidelines that are available these days. Long ago, many electrical injuries were contributed to negligence, improper or unclear safety guidelines, and inadequate safety protection. However, as time has passed changes have been implemented to make working with electrical hazards safer for everyone involved. With the implementation of proper training and the use of helpful safety guidelines such as those provided by the NFPA major electrical hazards can be handled safely, appropriately, and in a universally accepted manner.