A better understanding of NFPA 70E: the other chapters

Blog Post created by ccoache Employee on Feb 9, 2018


Do you know that there are three chapters in NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®? Although Chapter 1 is the most well-known there are two other chapters applicable to the users of the standard. Chapter 2 applies to any facility that conducts maintenance. Chapter 3 addresses specific equipment and may not be applicable to all users of the standard.

Chapter 2: Article 205 contains basic information that is critical to maintenance. Without proper maintenance, not only are workers put a risk when performing energized work or establishing an electrically safe work condition, but the production line worker doing their job is also put at risk. Everyone knows that someone conducting energized work must be a qualified person but that person must also be qualified to conduct those maintenance tasks and tests. For example, special knowledge is necessary to maintain a motor and its protection technique in hazardous locations. A single-line diagram is crucial to conducting a risk assessment and but the document is of no use unless it is legible and current. Maintenance must follow the manufacturer’s instructions and industry standards but 205.3 points out who is responsible for making sure maintenance is conducted and documented.

Clear and ample working space around electrical equipment is necessary to safely conduct maintenance whether an electrically safe work condition is established or justified energized work is conducted. Enclosures need to be maintained and safety equipment must be functional to provide the designed protection. Cables and cords need to be free from damage to provide insulation and appropriate grounding. Many people associate personal protective equipment (PPE) with arc-rated clothing and voltage rated gloves. Article 250 points out that personal safety and protective equipment is not limited to protective clothing. Other Chapter 2 articles address the maintenance of several types of electrical equipment also in general terms. Although Chapter 2 does not provide information on how to conduct the inspections, tests or maintenance, without thee requirements to do so many would not perform these tasks.

Chapter 3: The special equipment addressed in Chapter 3 lends to it being the least used among the three chapters. Electrolytic cells, battery and battery rooms, power electronic equipment, lasers, and research and development laboratories all present unique electrical hazards. If your facility includes any of these locations or equipment, the general safety requirements from Chapter 1 may not adequately protect your employees. It is possible to place employees at additional risk of injury without using the modified or additional requirements from Chapter 3 to address these unique hazards.

For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange.

Next time: Increasing electrical safety for all employees.