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Electrical Safety – OSHA and NFPA 70E

- May 23, 2017 by Leslie Stoll, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Leslie)

Most business owners understand how OSHA effects their workplace, but few understand the impact that other institutions can have though consensus standards. In this blog,  I’ll focus on one of those institutions, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and the NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®.

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)

The NFPA is a non-profit organization that provides guidance on fire prevention and fire safety. The organization developed consensus standards that OSHA refers to when developing their regulations. The NFPA does not enforce their standard but, OSHA can. Therefore, any company that has electrical equipment in their workplace should be aware of NFPA 70E guidelines.

The NFPA 70E Standard

To give you a quick overview of the NFPA 70E standard, it is split into three chapters with 16 informational annexes:

  1. Safety Related Work Practices
  2. Safety Related Maintenance Requirements
  3. Safety Requirements for Special Equipment

The informational annexes provide additional support and information for adopting the concepts explained in the three chapters including an example job briefing and planning checklist, a sample Energized Electrical work permit, personal protective equipment information, and more.

Are You OSHA Compliant?

If your production manager or maintenance manager or electrician has no knowledge of the NFPA 70E standard, you should be concerned. Please check with them to make sure they have a basic knowledge of the standard.

Even if you or someone at your company has a basic knowledge of the standard but is unaware of the 2015 update, then your company may not be compliant with OSHA.  The 2015 update to NFPA 70E puts more emphasize on training and auditing processes for electrical work. To read the 2015 standard, free access is available at the NFPA website.

In short, OSHA Sub Part S – Electrical, explains WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE for electrical safety compliance and NFPA 70E explains HOW TO DO what needs to be done.

I will be posting more blogs about the NFPA 70E standard soon. Stay tuned!