What’s in NFPA 2015?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 6,000 US workers suffered fatal electrical injuries between 1992 and 2013. To stay abreast with industry practices and prevent related accidents, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) updates the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace (70E) every three years. Are you in compliance with the 2015 edition of the NFPA 70E standards? Read our latest blog to find out more about these electrical safety requirements:
What is NFPA 70E?
Electrocution is one of the leading causes of worker fatalities. To improve safety and promote awareness, NFPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed complementary guidelines that emphasize electrical safety at work.
NFPA 70E is a nationally recognized safety standard for workers and employers who need to meet OSHA 1910 Subpart S and OSHA 1926 Subpart K requirements. Simply put, OSHA’s standards specify what must be done to minimize exposure to electrical hazards—while NFPA 70E enumerates how to do it. The standard covers how to:
- Identify hazards and assess risks
- Choose the right personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Provide adequate employee training
- Maintain an electrically safe working environment
Using NFPA 70E as a guide, employers and workers will have a better understanding of the necessary measures to prevent electrocution, shock, arc blast, arc flash, and similar accidents or injuries.
What’s in the 2015 Edition?
NFPA 70E is revised every three years to reflect the current safety, maintenance, and training needs of the industry. According to NFPA, the 2015 version underscores “a major shift in how stakeholders evaluate electrical risk.” Here are some notable changes to the latest version of electrical safety standard:
Terminology Definitions and Updates
Crucial definitions were added to the 2015 version. In particular, “hazard” is defined as “a source of possible injury or damage to health.” NFPA further describes “risk” as “a combination of the likelihood of occurrence of injury or damage to health and the severity of injury or damage to health that results from a hazard.”
The latest edition also changed several terms from the 2012 version:
- Arc flash hazard analysis – arc flash risk assessment
- Shock hazard analysis – shock risk assessment
- Electrical hazard analysis – electrical hazard risk assessment
- Hazard identification and risk assessment – risk assessment
Deletions of Prohibited Approach Boundary and Bare-Hand Work
The 2015 edition removed the “prohibited approach boundary.” Under the latest version, there were only two shock protection boundaries:
- Limited Approach Boundary
- Restricted Approach Boundary
Likewise, all references to “bare-hand work” were deleted. The technique, which is considered as a “utility type” of line work, is now covered in other safety standards.
Replacement of Hazard/Risk Category (HRC) Tables
The most recent version has replaced all references to HRC with “PPE Category.” Since the updated table only requires PPE for electrical work within the arc flash boundary, the 2015 edition deleted hazard/risk category 0. According to NFPA, “if there is no arc flash hazard, then no arc flash PPE is required.”
NPA 70E Training and Guidance
Staying on top of these regulatory updates can be overwhelming. To keep you in the loop, 360training.com has developed a self-paced and mobile-compatible course based on the latest edition of NFPA 70E. Contact us to find out more about electrical safety essentials at work!