The Second Draft meeting for NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace has been completed. There were 45 Second Revisions developed out of the 115 Public Comments submitted. Soon these proposed revisions will be on the way to the Technical Committee for formal ballot. The result of that ballot will determine if the Second Revisions will make it into the standard. The public will be able to view the results once the ballots have been tallied. Here are three of potential major changes.
During the First Draft, Article 360 covering capacitors was added and there are several second revisions proposed for that article. Annex R (also added at First Draft) which provides guidance when working on capacitors was revised to further clarify the associated hazards. For those working with capacitors, you should review the information once the Second Draft Report is available to the public.
Although it is not a change in a requirement, as expected, what an electrically safe work condition (ESWC) is resulted in a proposed change. This dealt with the issue of “eliminating” an electrical hazard. Informational notes are proposed to be modified to clarify that an ESWC is when electrical parts are in a de-energized state for the purpose of temporarily eliminating electrical hazards for the period of time for which an ESWC is maintained.
One proposed change took me some time to comprehend. The change deals with the required arc rating of outwear worn over PPE properly rated for the hazard. Although arc-rated PPE worn over other arc-rated PPE does not directly add together to get a higher arc-rating, it also does not lower the arc-rating of either piece of PPE. So the minimum arc-rating will be the higher of the two. Since all arc-rated PPE is also flame-resistant, the concern of continued exposure to the thermal hazard of the outer layer in flame is unfounded. Therefore, an outer layer with any arc-rating will now be permitted over the appropriately rated PPE.
Only the formal ballot will determine if any of the forty-five revisions will proceed toward the 2021 edition of NFPA 70E. Some of the changes may alter the things you do during the course of the workday. For others of you, the changes may not have any impact. However, with around three-hundred public inputs being submitted each cycle, at some time, a change will affect your personal safety and the way you perform your tasks. The call for public input on the 2021 edition will be sometime in the first half of 2021. Be ready. It is your standard. Be part of it.
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Next time: Three different approaches to electrical safety with the same result.
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