Changes to the 2012 Edition of NFPA70E

By: JADE Learning | Jan 04, 2013

In October of 2011, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released the 2012 edition of NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace ®. NFPA 70E is the industry standard for preventing injury and loss of life while working with electricity and electrical equipment. Approximately 30,000 nonfatal electrical shock accidents and 1,000 electrocution fatalities occur each year, over half of them while servicing energized systems of less than 600 volts. More than 2,000 people each year are admitted to burn centers with severe arc flash burns.

JADE Learning provides electrical continuing education and electrical safety training.
Click on this link to a white paper that discusses each change in more detail: 70E 2012 White Paper

Here is a brief look at ten important changes in the 2012 Edition:

1. Employees must be retrained every three years. Article 110.2(D)(3)—Previously this was required every five years. You must document the date of the training, who attended the training, and the content of the training.

2. Individual control for lockout/tagout is no longer permitted. Article 120.2(D)— Individual control allowed a lockout/tagout device to be omitted if the disconnecting means was next to the equipment being serviced, and the disconnecting means was in clear view to the qualified person performing the work. Now there are only two types of lockout/tagout: Simple lockout/tagout and Complex lockout/tagout.

3. An energized electrical work permit is now required when working within the limited approach boundary or the arc flash boundary. Article 130.2(B)—The arc flash boundary may be further away from the equipment than the limited approach boundary.

4. A new Table has been added that defines the approach boundaries for working on energized direct-current voltage systems. Article 130.4(C)(b)—The new edition recognizes work on energized DC conductors and sets approach boundaries for shock protection. Hazard/risk categories for arc flash protection are also established for DC systems.

5. Arc flash hazard analysis is now required for systems 50 volts and greater. Article 130.5—Arc flash analysis used to be required only for circuits rated 240 volts or greater. If you are working on systems between 50 and 240 volts you will need to conduct an arc flash hazard analysis, or use tables in 70E, to determine the arc flash boundary, the incident energy at the working distance and the personal protective equipment that people within the arc flash boundary are required to use. Table 130.7(C)(15)(a)or(b) and Table 130.7(C)(16) can still be used to determine the arc flash boundary if the job at hand matches the task in the table.

6. The Arc Flash Boundary is no longer set at 4 feet. Article 130.5(A)—The Arc Flash Boundary is set at 1.2 cal/cm2 for systems 50 volts and greater. Previously, the arc flash boundary was set at 4 ft. for systems between 50 volts and 600 volts, if any combination of fault current/clearing time was not greater than 100kA cycles. An incident energy level of 1.2 cal/cm2 is the threshold between a 1st degree and 2nd degree burn.

7. Arc flash labeling based on the 2009 edition will no longer be sufficient. Article 130.5(C)— More information is required on arc flash labels. Each label must have the nominal system voltage, arc flash boundary, and one of the following: (a) available incident energy and corresponding working distance, (b) Minimum arc rating of clothing, (c) required level of PPE, (d) highest hazard/risk category for the equipment. Arc flash labels applied before September 30, 2011 do not need to be changed.

8. Hazard and risk category classifications for different tasks in Table 130.7(C)(15)(a) now include assumptions such as maximum short circuit current available, maximum fault clearing time, and the minimum working distance. Table 130.7(C)(15)(a)—If the installation does not conform to the assumptions given in the Table, the actual hazard/risk category may be higher than what is listed in the Table. The maximum short circuit current available, the maximum fault clearing time and the minimum working distances have been added to Table 130.7(C)(15)(a).

9. The hazard/risk category 2* has been deleted. Table 130.7(C)(15)(a); Table 130.7(C)(16)—Now there are five categories of hazard/risk, 0-4. The 2* category had slightly different requirements for head and face protection. Tasks which were rated 2* are now rated hazard/risk category 2.

10. Category 2 type tasks now require an arc-rated flash suit hood or arc-rated face shield and arc-rated balaclava. Table 130.7(C)(16)—A balaclava is a sock hood that protects the neck and head, except for the facial area of the eyes and nose.

How will these changes affect how you work safely?

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