NFPA 70E – Chapter 2: Safety-Related Preventative Maintenance Requirements Methods & Benefits
Transworld, Inc. Electrical Contractors recently presented to the IEEE Columbia Section members during one of their technical sessions. This technical session focused specifically on electrical safety in the workplace, namely National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E Standard for arc flash (Chapter 2). Most commercial, industrial, and institutional owners and managers are acquainted or are becoming acquainted with the NFPA 70E Standard on how to best comply with OSHA’s General Duty Clause calling for creating and maintaining a safe work environment. Because protection human health and welfare is always a top priority, electrical hazards (frequently severe and carrying high dollar fines) are one of OSHA’s “Fatal Four” violations.
The 2015 edition of NFPA 70E is like previous editions in that it contains equations that only a professional engineer can appreciate. Naturally, the inclination is to retain such an engineer can appreciate. Naturally, the inclination is to retain such an engineer to wade through all those calculations, place appropriate hazard labels, and advise what PPE to have on hand. The good news is this is entirely rational and reasonable and will save lives and reduce injuries. The bad news is (1) this (inclination) may also allow hazardous conditions that would not otherwise exist, and (2) this may give everyone a false sense of security.
Regarding bad news (1), without having done incident energy analysis (engineering) and identifying the hazards involved with energized work, many owners and managers historically have simply prohibited work on live parts; but after NFPA 70E engineering, it may appear that it is now safe for employees to work on energized equipment under specific conditions. Regarding bad news (2), without verifying proper installation and performing preventative maintenance on electrical assets, the calculations may be way off, perhaps with fatal results. So, owners and managers may be sending technicians into harm’s way because of doing arc flash incident energy analysis alone, without preventative maintenance.
We appreciate the opportunity and support we received from everyone at IEEE Columbia Section. We have posted the presentation as a video for you to review and share. Please, let us know if you have any additional questions about our services or are interested in learning more about electrical safety or NFPA 70E qualifications. We are here to help protect your investment, employees and improve electrical safety.