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News Key Revisions to the 2015 Edition of NFPA 70E

Here are the key revisions to 2015 NFPA 70E from this month’s EC & M

The 2015 edition of NFPA 70E reflects a major shift in how stakeholders evaluate electrical risk. In support of this, new definitions were added to Art. 100, including Hazard, Hazardous, Risk, and Risk Assessment. Throughout the document changes were made to provide clarity to users, such as changing “arc flash hazard analysis” to “arc flash risk assessment,” “shock hazard analysis” to “shock risk assessment,” “electrical hazard analysis” to “electrical hazard risk assessment,” and “hazard identification and risk assessment” to “risk assessment.” These global changes ensure consistent use of these terms throughout the document and provide consistency between NFPA 70E and other standards that address hazards and risk.

Expanded Scope

Safety-related maintenance requirements and other administrative controls were added to the Scope statement of the standard to clarify that training and auditing are equally important safety-related work practices. [90.2(A)]

  • Reference Removed

The definition of Bare-Hand Work and all references to bare-hand work were removed. The term, which is considered to be a “utility-type” line work technique, is more appropriately addressed in other standards.

·        Definition Additions

A definition for Energized Electrical Work Permit was added to Art. 100, and the definition for Qualified Person was revised to correlate the definition with OSHA 1910.399 Note 2. [100]. Some employees are considered “unqualified,” such as the person above who would not be permitted to flip a circuit breaker or work on energized electrical equipment, for example.

·        Limited Approach Boundary Language

Prohibited Approach Boundary was deleted. The requirement for using shock protective equipment typically begins at the restricted approach boundary. No additional protective equipment was required when crossing the prohibited approach boundary. Previous changes that used the limited approach boundary or arc flash boundary for “triggering” requirements have made the use of this term unnecessary.

·        Maintenance Matters

An electrical safety program must now include elements that consider condition of maintenance. [110.1(B)]

·        Audit Guidelines

Audits of field work to verify compliance with the procedures of the electrical safety program must be performed at intervals not to exceed one year. [110.1(I)(2)]

·        Temporary Protective Grounding

The location, sizing, and application of temporary protective grounding equipment is required to be identified as part of the employer’s job planning. [120.3(A)]

·        Electrical Equipment Classification

New requirements clarifying where normal operation of electric equipment is permitted were added. The equipment must be properly installed and maintained, equipment doors closed and secured, and all covers in place and secured, and there is no evidence of impending failure. [130.2(A)(4)]

·        Analysis Methods

Clarification was added that either the incident energy analysis method or arc flash PPE categories method can be used on the same piece of equipment for the selection of PPE, but not both. The revision also clarifies that the results of an incident energy analysis to specify an arc flash PPE category in Table 130.7(C)(16) is not permitted. [130.5(C)]

·        Labeling Requirements

Field-marked equipment labeling requirements were revised to require the label to be updated where the arc flash hazard risk assessment identifies a change that renders the label inaccurate. Also, the documentation, installation, and maintenance of the field-marked label is the responsibility of the owner of the electrical equipment. [130.5(D)]

·        Conductive Articles

Additional text now provides the user with a boundary to the existing requirements in 130.6(D). Conductive articles being worn shall not be worn within the restricted approach boundary or where they present an electrical contact hazard. [130.6(D)]

·        Usability Improvements

A new task-based table combines the separate AC and DC tables previously used to determine when arc flash PPE is required and makes them consistent, improving usability. The new table lists the task, equipment condition, and arc flash PPE required. It utilizes a simple yes or no format if arc flash PPE is required. [130.7(C)(15)(A)(a)]

·        Table Talk

New equipment-based tables were added for determining the arc flash PPE category, Table 130.7(C)(15)(A)(b) for AC systems and Table 130.7(C)(15)(B) for DC systems. The tables list the equipment, arc flash PPE category, and the arc flash boundary. [Table 130.7(C)(15)(A)(b), Table 130.7(C)(15)(B)].

·        Personal Protective Equipment

Hazard/risk category 0 has been removed from Table 130.7(C)(16). Hazard/risk category will now be referred to as PPE category. Hazard/risk category 0 was deleted because the new PPE table only specifies PPE for work within the arc flash boundary. If there is no arc flash hazard, then no arc flash PPE is required, and it is therefore not necessary on a table devoted to PPE. [Table 130.7(C)(16)]

·        Boundary Change

The criterion for employees to use insulated tools or handling equipment has been changed from the limited approach boundary to restricted approach boundary. [130.7(D)(1)]

·        Barricades and Boundaries

Barricades cannot be placed closer than the limited approach boundary. Where the arc flash boundary is greater than the limited approach boundary, barricades cannot be placed closer than the arc flash boundary. [130.7(E)(2)]

·        Cutting Criteria

A new section is added requiring the employer to perform a risk assessment before cutting or drilling into equipment, floors, walls, or structural elements where a likelihood of contacting energized electrical lines or parts exists. [130.10]

·        Responsible Parties

Clarification is provided that the equipment owner or the owner’s designated representative is responsible for maintenance of the electrical equipment and documentation. [205.3]

·        Test and Measurement

New maintenance requirements for test instruments and associated test leads utilized in the verification of the absence or presence of voltages were added. The maintenance program for test instruments must include functional verification as described in 110.4(A)(5). [250.4]

·        Assessing Risk

New section 320.3(A)(1) requires a risk assessment to be performed prior to any work on a battery system to identify the chemical, electrical shock, and arc flash hazards and assess the risks associated with the type of tasks to be performed. [320.3(A)(1)]