The second draft meeting for NFPA 70E was held in Salt Lake City on July 18th through July 21st. There were 173 public comments acted on at the meeting. There are a few proposed changes to the standard that were acted upon that may garner the most attention.
NOTE: The official position of the committee has not been given through the formal ballot. This blog only addresses preliminary revisions proposed by the public and committee.
The first is that the layout of Article 120 Establishing an Electrically Safe Work Condition has been reorganized to better address the logical sequence of events. The steps, principles, and program for lockout/tagout have been moved to be the first sections of Article 120 since these are necessary before verifying the condition. The verification steps have been moved to the end of Article 120 since these are the last steps for establishing the electrically safe work condition.
A second change is to place further emphasis on the risk assessment and put the hierarchy of controls into mandatory language. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) has always been and remains to be the last method selected when providing protection for the worker exposed to hazards when conducting justified energized work. The revised text clarifies this principle.
The third changes clarifies how the standard should have always been used when justified energized work is to be conducted. It essentially is not adding new requirements but will assist in preventing the misuse of the standard. The change is that Table 130.7(C)(15)(A)(a) [that many call the task table] has become a new table applicable to both the PPE category method or the incident energy analysis method. It no longer determines whether PPE is required but whether or not there is a likelihood of an arc flash occurrence. The user conducts a risk assessment and determines the protection scheme to be employed to protect the worker using the hierarchy of controls (same as in the past editions).
The last big change is that the references to PPE equipment standards have been changed to informational notes. The equipment must still meet the applicable standards but the verification process has been changed to one of a conformity assessment where the PPE manufacturer should be able to provide assurance that the applicable standard has been met by one of three methods. The previous edition of the standard did not require any verification method. The three methods are; self-declaration with a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity, self-declaration under a registered Quality Management System and product testing by an accredited laboratory and a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity, or a certification by an accredited independent third-party certification organization.
The committee’s official position will be taken by ballot in early September. If you want to keep up on the process visit the NFPA 70E web page at www.nfpa.org/70E. The next edition tab will carry all the current information throughout the process. NFPA 70E – 2017 is slated to be voted on at the association meeting in Boston, MA in June 2017.