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NFPA releases 2012 Edition of NFPA 70E®

By W. Jon Wallace, CSP, MBA

(Please note: This article is for reference only as it is based upon the 2012 edition of NFPA 70E.)

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) issued the revised 2012 edition of NFPA 70E®: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® with an effective date of August 31, 2011. Most of the changes have occurred in Chapter 1. With the exception of the major revisions in Article 320, Safety Requirements Related to Batteries and Battery Rooms, the revisions in Chapters 2 and 3 are primarily for clarification and editorial purposes. Annexes D, F, H, J, and O have all been significantly revised. A new Annex P has been added to align NFPA 70E® implementation with occupational health and safety management standards.

Listed below is a summary of the major changes to Article 90 and Chapter 1:

  1. Scope has been revised to align with the NEC.
  2. Definitions of terms not used in the standard have been deleted.
  3. “Flame-resistant (FR)” has been changed to “arc-rated (AR)” in regard to personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the standard.
  4. New Article 105, Application of Safety-Related Work Practices, with requirements formerly included in Article 110 that apply throughout Chapter 1 has been added.
  5. Three-year intervals for employee retraining and for electrical safety program auditing have been included.
  6. Work practice requirements on use of GFCIs to protect employees have been added.
  7. Former 110.8, Working While Exposed to Electrical Hazards, has been moved to Article 130.3.
  8. New safety-related work practice for underground electrical lines and equipment has been added.
  9. Individual qualified employee control procedure has been deleted from Article 120.
  10. Clarification that requirements of Article 130 whether incident energy analysis or hazard/risk table is used to determine use and level of PPE has been provided.
  11. New requirements and information have been added covering use of PPE to protect against arc-flash hazard associated with enclosed electrical equipment.
  12. Content of energized electrical work permit (EWP) has been revised and its use clarified.
  13. New approach boundary and hazard/risk category tables for direct current circuits have been added, as well as information in Annex D on arc flash calculations.
  14. A requirement for hearing protection when working within arc flash boundary has been added.
  15. Arc-flash protection for hands has been revised to specify “heavy-duty” leather    gloves.
  16. Hazard/risk category tables have been changed to include short-circuit current, fault clearing time, and potential arc flash boundary information in each of the major equipment categories instead of in specific notes at the end of the table.
  17. “2*” delineation for certain H/R Category 2 tasks has been deleted.
  18. Former Tables 130.7 (C)(10) and (C)(11) on PPE selection when hazard/risk category method is used have been combined into a single table.
  19. New information requirements to the equipment labeling provisions have been clarified and added, and an exception for existing installations has been added.

Please remember this article is intended as an overview and not a comprehensive summary of changes to the 2012 edition of NFPA 70E®.  

If you have any questions concerning this article or other safety issues, please contact W. Jon Wallace, "The Safety Guru", at 919.933.5548 or by