Written by Steve Hudgik
NFPA describes the scope of NFPA 70E 2012 as:
"This standard addresses electrical safety-related work practices for employee workplaces that are necessary for the practical safeguarding of employees relative to the hazards associated with electrical energy during activities such as the installation, inspection, operation, maintenance, and demolition of electric conductors, electric equipment, signaling and communications conductors and equipment, and raceways. This standard also includes safe work practices for employees performing other work activities that can expose them to electrical hazards..."
NFPA 70E is not the same as, nor is it a part of NFPA 70 or the NEC. NFPA 70 and the NEC cover the safe design and installation of electrical equipment and components. NFPA 70E covers safe work practices.
The NEC and NFPA 70E do have some similarities. For example, they both use the same definitions, and the both cover wiring inside buildings, but not electric utility lines.
Both the NEC and NFPA 70E are published as voluntary standards. The NFPA does not have the authority to enforce the codes they publish. However, the NEC is commonly adopted as regulation by states, counties and cities, and enforced by inspectors. NFPA 70E 2012 has not been adopted as a regulation by any government organization. However, OSHA does consider compliance with NFPA 70E 2012 as necessary for a safe workplace. That means that even though it is not a part of the OSHA standards, OSHA may still cite a company for not complying with NFPA 70E.
The NFPA 70E code deals with the following types of electrical hazards:
• Shock and Electrocution
• Arc Flash
• Arc Blast (an arc flash resulting in a high energy explosion)
NFPA 70E Safety Is Based On Four Major Points
Work De-energized – if you are working on de-energized equipment, the hazard has been eliminated. Working de-energized includes using a formal Lock Out/Tag Out program (LOTO) and thorough testing to verify the equipment is truly de-energized
Live Work Permits – when work must be done on energized equipment, a Live Work Permit system must be used. (OSHA 1910.333 also require live work permits.) Live work should only be done when it can demonstrated that de-energizing introduces additional or increased hazards or is infeasible due to equipment design or operational limitations.
Plan The Work – Know what needs to be done and the hazards associated with the work. Those working in a hazardous situation must be qualified. This means they must have the training such they can recognize hazards and know how to protect themselves from the hazards.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – When working on live equipment the proper tools must be used, and appropriate PPE must be used.
An important part of NFPA 70E 2012 are the labeling requirements. Electricity cannot bee seen, and there is noway to know the seriousness of the electrical hazard without a warning label. NFPA 70E 2012 compliant labels identify the electrical hazard level and provide the information needed in order to know what type of PPE is required.
Where do NFPA 70E labels come from? DuraLabel printers. DuraLabel brand printers and supplies give you everything needed to make long-lasting NFPA 70E 2012 compliant arc flash labels. DuraLabel is the only brand of label printer that has a three year warranty on the printer and a five year warranty on labels made with DuraLabel vinyl. And they are the arc flash label printers that make your job easier – every desktop DuraLabel printer comes with the DuraSuite software (no extra charge) which includes arc flash label printing and database.
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