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Impacts of NFPA 70E 2018 on Arc Flash Studies

Are you ready to comply with the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2018 edition of NFPA Standard 70E for electrical safety in the workplace?  This standard provides requirements to help employers reduce risks to employees from arc flash and other hazards when working on or near energized equipment.

The 2018 edition of NFPA 70E makes several important changes related to arc flash safety. Significantly, it promotes the importance of the hierarchy of risk control methods (including placing the hierarchy on the front cover of the 2018 edition).  It also considers the likelihood of occurrence of arc flash hazards when assessing risks.

In NFPA 70E 2018, the hierarchy of risk control methods has been moved from an informational note into the main text of the standard, which emphasizes its importance. In this hierarchy, elimination of the hazard is the first priority, and each subsequent method is considered less effective than the one above it.

Notably, personal protective equipment (PPE) is listed as the last priority in the hierarchy.  Thus, arc flash safety should not be solely a matter of determining the right level of PPE for a given task.  For each process, PPE only comes into use after other more effective means of risk control have been considered.

As you consider your next arc flash analysis, ask yourself:

  1. Has your electrical equipment been properly maintained and tested according to the manufacturer recommendations?
  2. Have you reviewed the areas in your facilities to determine how you can eliminate or reduce the arc flash hazards, even if you have appropriate PPE?

To learn more about the impacts of NFPA 70E 2018 or to discuss arc flash studies, contact us.

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