The misunderstood NFPA 70E Standards, which was created by the National Fire Protection Association in an effort to explain practical steps for implementing OSHA regulations regarding electrical safety.
NFPA 70E is not “officially” blessed the rule, but OSHA inspectors do use it as a guideline to understand their own rules. You see OSHA does have a well-intended set of rules, but they are so vague that nobody understands what is right and what is wrong.
NFPA 70E covers every practical aspect of workplace safety related to working with arc flashes to working with electricity. In addition to outlining standards and documentation for specific procedures and the correct types of personal protective equipment (PPE) for each, it spells out the responsibilities of both owners and contractors, and how they should interact regarding potential hazards on a jobsite.
Both large and small scale projects apply. From high voltage electric or just replacing a breaker in a residential home. There are certain proper ways of doing thing, and although some seem like common sense I’m sure they get ignored.
NPFA 70E does simplifies things. It spells out exactly what is needed to protect workers and stay in compliance with worker-safety rules. It is not intended to complicate life for smaller contractors. If an incident occurs, having followed the procedures outlined in the document may protect the contractor from bigger problems with safety regulators and litigation. The rules are good enough for the mining industry (which is exempt from OSHA compliance) to use them as their standard.
Complying with the standards in NFPA 70E is not only the responsibility of contractors who work on electrical equipment. Owners are expected to be able to identify and properly label hazards Owners should be able to tell the contractor what’s involved – everything from the voltage level to the arc flash category and boundary – and that information should be regularly updated. NFPA 70E makes it easy to do so by explaining it in an easy format and with its flowcharts.
If you’re not already familiar with NFPA 70E, it’s well worth your time to obtain and review the standards. You’ll probably be amazed at the depth of information that’s included. Following the standards in NFPA 70E is more than just a compliance issue. It’s also a sound business decision built upon proven practices. After all, when you protect your workers, you also protect your investment in facilities, equipment, or your business.