Health & Safety Institute Blog

April 3, 2015

Pay Attention to Electrical Safety and Check out Summit’s NEW NFPA 70E Program

Pay Attention to Electrical Safety and Check out Summit’s NEW NFPA 70E Program

Electricity is such a common part of our lives that many times we forget the risks involved.  Even with employees that work with electrical equipment every day, accidents can occur from something as simple as a damaged extension cord or a faulty shop floor outlet.  According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), electrocutions have been the fifth leading cause of workplace deaths for the past 20 years, with four main types of serious injury: electrocution (fatal), electric shock, burns, and falls caused as a result of contact with electrical energy. 

Regardless of your job, it is always beneficial to have a reminder of how to avoid injury when working around electrical instruments or power sources. Check out what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has to say on the subject:

  • Assume that all overhead wires are energized at lethal voltages; never assume that a wire is safe to touch even if it is down or appears to be insulated.
  • Never touch a fallen overhead power line. Call the electric utility company to report fallen electrical lines.
  • Stay at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities. If working at heights or handling long objects, survey the area before starting work for the presence of overhead wires.
  • If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not leave your vehicle. Warn people not to touch the vehicle or the wire. Call or ask someone to call the local electric utility company and emergency services.
  • Never operate electrical equipment while you are standing in water.
  • Never repair electrical cords or equipment unless qualified and authorized.
  • Have a qualified electrician inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it.
  • If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
  • Always use caution when working near electricity.

New NFPA 70E Electrical Safety changes for 2015

It’s update year again for the NFPA 70E standard – is your workforce up-to-date?  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) updates the NFPA 70E standard every three years to continuously enhance best safety practices.  This year’s updates introduce major changes to ensure an electrically safe working area and comply with OSHA 1910 Subpart S and OSHA 1926 Subpart K:

  • The PPE table has been revised to make selecting the correct PPE simpler. 
  • The Prohibited Approach Boundary has been removed.
  • The phrase “risk assessment” has replace “hazard analysis” as a way of enhancing awareness.
  • Hazard Risk Category 0 has been eliminated (moving electrical work into arc-rated clothing).
  • The phrase “Hazard Risk Category (HRC)” has been removed – clothing companies will start using the term “ARC.”

Summit’s new program, NFPA 70E: Arc Flash and Arc Blast Protection, includes the 2015 updates for the NFPA 70E standard, as well as what it takes to ensure electrical workers can do their jobs without getting hurt or killed.

Available in online, streaming video and DVD formats and in English and Spanish languages, this course covers:

  • Electrical hazards and injuries
  • De-energizing equipment
  • Working “hot”

Keep your workplace up-to-date with the latest NFPA 70E standards. 




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