Christopher Coache

A better understanding of NFPA 70E: A handbook that you want and need

Blog Post created by Christopher Coache Employee on Mar 21, 2018
When I was assigned as the staff liaison for NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, I was also assigned the daunting task of developing a handbook. The NFPA 70E handbook had been out for several editions with each previous editor adding their own style and addressing what they felt needed clarification. I was now able to add my own viewpoint but I could only address concerns that I had. I also used information received from you as part of being an NFPA member which gave you the ability to ask me questions. What I think was needed may not be what you really wanted. I did not want to go off on a tangent but felt that the employee who was risking their life while performing electrical work was not adequately addressed. That became the theme for the 2018 edition commentary.
It is always a loaded prospect to solicit information for the public but the readers of this blog are kindred spirits. We all want to save lives and prevent injuries.  
So, if you have seen a 2018 handbook, please help make the 2021 edition better. Of the things I tried were they helpful? Here are some features and my reason for including them. 
- Commentary throughout handbook revised to be applicable to understanding and aid in implementing the requirement  
- Overall new format of standard text and commentary text in black while clearly distinguishing between the two 
- Summary of technical changes to provide a quick overview of changes right up front. This was not intended to be detailed but to allow you to follow the revision process  
- The story of Steve and Dela Lenz moved up front to personalize the hazards of working live and illustrate the need for proper risk assessment  
- Worker alert feature in margin to provide specific information for employee put at risk without having to search the whole standard 
- OSHA connection feature in margin to summarize some pertinent OSHA regulations that correlate with NFPA 70E  
- Case studies that were revamped to address employer and employee actions as well as include more detail of my analysis of incident 
- Risk assessment flow chart to provide an example of a simple step through the risk assessment process  
- Flow chart for conducting electrical work as a simple example of the thought process necessary when determining electrical safety for employee  
- Exhibit with traits of a qualified person to address qualified persons questions and to aid in determining qualification of worker 
- Supplement with NEC requirements separated for employee, employer and system designer based on visibility to each  
I also kept a few things that I was considering on removing.  Should these be kept?  
- Supplement with preventative maintenance program with excerpts NFPA 70B sections regarding maintenance program  
- Supplement with a sample test and inspection procedure illustrating the detail that may be necessary to address concerns properly  
This request is so that I can get a quick idea for how you, the users of the NFPA 70E handbook, felt about the changes. Please add comments (feel free to add until October 2018) to elaborate on what you would like to see in the next edition. By providing insight to me on what you in the field need explained, I will be able to develop a handbook that helps you understand how to increase the chances that you return home after a day’s work. 
For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange.  
Next time: A very troubling trend

Outcomes