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The second draft meeting for NFPA 70E was held in Salt Lake City on July 18th through July 21st. There were 173 public comments acted on at the meeting. There are a few proposed changes to the standard that were acted upon that may garner the most attention.


NOTE:  The official position of the committee has not been given through the formal ballot. This blog only addresses preliminary revisions proposed by the public and committee.


The first is that the layout of Article 120 Establishing an Electrically Safe Work Condition has been reorganized to better address the logical sequence of events. The steps, principles, and program for lockout/tagout have been moved to be the first sections of Article 120 since these are necessary before verifying the condition.  The verification steps have been moved to the end of Article 120 since these are the last steps for establishing the electrically safe work condition.


A second change is to place further emphasis on the risk assessment and put the hierarchy of controls into mandatory language.  The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) has always been and remains to be the last method selected when providing protection for the worker exposed to hazards when conducting justified energized work. The revised text clarifies this principle.


The third changes clarifies how the standard should have always been used when justified energized work is to be conducted. It essentially is not adding new requirements but will assist in preventing the misuse of the standard. The change is that Table 130.7(C)(15)(A)(a) [that many call the task table] has become a new table applicable to both the PPE category method or the incident energy analysis method. It no longer determines whether PPE is required but whether or not there is a likelihood of an arc flash occurrence. The user conducts a risk assessment and determines the protection scheme to be employed to protect the worker using the hierarchy of controls (same as in the past editions).


The last big change is that the references to PPE equipment standards have been changed to informational notes. The equipment must still meet the applicable standards but the verification process has been changed to one of a conformity assessment where the PPE manufacturer should be able to provide assurance that the applicable standard has been met by one of three methods. The previous edition of the standard did not require any verification method. The three methods are; self-declaration with a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity, self-declaration under a registered Quality  Management System and product testing by an accredited laboratory and a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity, or a certification by an accredited independent third-party certification organization.


The committee's official position will be taken by ballot in early September.  If you want to keep up on the process visit the NFPA 70E web page at The next edition tab will carry all the current information throughout the process. NFPA 70E - 2017 is slated to be voted on at the association meeting in Boston, MA in June 2017.

Capture1.JPGRecently, the Fire Protection Research Foundation held an Alternative Fuel Vehicle Safety Summit, which included a diverse group of stakeholders focused on a review, validation and identification of gaps for emergency responder operational training materials on AFVs. These training materials are used by first and second emergency responders and others handling emergencies with alternative fuel vehicles, with an emphasis on gaseous fuels. This summit was possible through funding provided by the United States Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).


The summit addressed emergency activities such as: fire events, non-fire emergencies (e.g., submersion), fire investigation, crash reconstruction, tow and salvage, extrication practices, refueling and charging infrastructure, etc. The deliverables from this summit provide a summary of prioritized needs and gaps from the perspective of emergency responder stakeholders, and promotes activities to address these needs and gaps through all possible approaches. This includes working with vehicle providers to implement inherent safety design solutions through up-front innovative design.


Of particular note, the Summit highlighted the following:

  • The need to address implementation of electronic badging technologies as soon as possible to enable real-time emergency event size-up and prospective data collection;
  • A clarification of the tactical firefighting approach for the venting of gaseous fuel storage vessels depending on the vessel material (i.e., metal versus composite);
  • An address of the need of investigators to re-power damaged vehicles to harvest post event data; and
  • A continuation of the discussion on the problem of stranded energy and its long time frame impact on first and second emergency responders.


Download the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Safety Summit proceedings from the Research Foundation website.

train-on-fire-header-1000x288.jpgIn the recent past there have been several pipeline and rail car incidents involving flammable liquids in municipalities in North America. These incidents often involve a complex interaction with municipal authorities, the fire service as the first responders, and industry personnel. Despite the extensive efforts of all parties to ensure that emergency responders are properly trained and equipped, there remain gaps in the application and use of risk-based response processes to manage these incidents. Likewise, there is no standardized template or reference point to provide emergency response agencies with emergency planning and response best practices; this challenge is shared by small and large departments alike.


Two new Fire Protection Research Foundation project reports have now been completed and published, as they provide on-scene incident commander guidance for High Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFT) and Liquid Petroleum Pipeline Emergencies.


Download for free, "High Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFT) On-Scene Incident Commander Field Guide" and "Liquid Petroleum Pipeline Emergencies On-Scene Incident Commander Field Guide," both authored by Gregory G. Noll & Michael S. Hildebrand of Hilldebrand & Noll Associates, Inc.

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