The National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, is a global nonprofit self-funded organization founded in 1896 with the purpose of eliminating death, injury, property loss, and economic loss caused by fire, electrical, and related risks.
The risks of shock, electrocution, arc flash, and arc blast are important health and safety matters in the workplace and many related electrical incidents could have been averted through compliance with the most recent safety codes and standards of NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.
What is NFPA standard 70E?
NFPA 70E is an essential document to help provide a working area for employees that is safe from the unacceptable risks associated with the use of electricity in the workplace.
The most recent edition of NFPA 70E, established in 2021, outlines safety processes that use policies, procedures, and program controls to reduce these risks to an acceptable level. The main goal is practical, accomplishable electrical safety that helps ensure the safety of the employee at the end of the day. The risk controls covered in this standard are intended to be sensible, viable, and effective applications of safety procedures and policies to be implemented by both the employer and employee. The requirements at the heart of NFPA 70E are suitable for use and implementation by agencies and employers charged with the responsibility of electrical safety plan development, implementation, and maintenance.
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) looks to the prescriptive-based requirements of NFPA 70E to fulfill the performance-based requirements included in its standards. NFPA 70E fleshes out how the performance-based requirements in the OSHA standards can be met by providing and defining minimum standard industry practices necessary for electrical safety. OSHA is the law, and NFPA 70E outlines ways to comply with OSHA’s electrical safety requirements.
[NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, 2021]
What is required for NFPA 70E training?
The unique risks associated with electrical energy must be explained to qualified individuals who operate directly with electrical equipment as well as unqualified individuals who work close to a hazard, such as maintenance or janitorial workers. Section 110.6 primary topics include:
- Electrical Safety Training
- Lockout/Tagout Procedure Training
- Emergency Response Training
It is essential to understand that a qualified worker is someone who not only possesses the technical skills to maintain, troubleshoot, and install electrical equipment correctly but also possesses the necessary safety skills and knowledge earned through rigorous electrical safety training. For training requirements that specifically apply to qualified individuals, see 1910.332(b)(3) or section 110.6(1).
According to section 110.6(1), these are the NFPA 70E training requirements for a qualified person:
- Precautionary techniques used for working around the hazards
- Applicable electrical policies and procedures
- Proper use of PPE, including arc flash, insulating, and shielding materials
- Proper use of insulating tools and test equipment
- Distinguish exposed, energized conductors and circuits from other parts of equipment
- Determine nominal voltage
- Understand the approach distances and determining factors for shock and arc flash boundaries
- Understand the decision-making process necessary to be able to:
- Perform job safety planning
- Identify electrical hazards
- Assess the associated risk
- Select the appropriate risk control methods, including PPE
Moreover, OSHA requires that any unqualified individuals must receive training in and possess knowledge of any electrically associated safety procedures that are essential for their safety. These individuals may deal with electrical equipment, although they may not perform the diagnostic electrical work of a qualified employee.
How much does NFPA 70E training cost?
Costs for NFPA 70E training may differ. Depending on the type of training you require and the method, basic training can be as low as $29 and premium training can be as high as $258.
How long is NFPA 70E training?
Although NFPA 70E contains guidance concerning the training of employees who are exposed to electrical hazards, there is no requirement for the length of time the training must last. This means the training times can range depending on the employee's job role.
For example, if training an unqualified person, the training may not need to be as extensive as training a qualified person, requiring less time. This is because the unqualified employee is not exposed to the same level of hazards as the qualified person.
To determine the necessary training time, start by looking at the OSHA part 1910 subpart-S Electrical, where you will find the regulations that address electrical safety training for employees.
How often is NFPA 70E training required?
Employees need to get new training on safe work procedures and any modifications to the NFPA 70E standard at least every three years. Adding new equipment, changing job responsibilities, or failing inspections all require training.
Learn how to safely perform electrical tasks and prevent accidents while maintaining compliance with OSHA regulations with one of our online 2021 NFPA 70E - Electrical Safety Training course. Or to find the answers to your other NFPA 70E questions, refer to the National Fire Protection Association NFPA 70E web page.