Tech Tip

NFPA 70E 2009 Requirements

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published the latest edition of the NFPA 70E Standard (Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces) in 2009. The revised version requires employees to wear flame resistant (FR) protective clothing that meets the requirements of ASTM F1506 wherever there is possible exposure to an electric arc flash. It requires employers to perform a flash hazard analysis to determine the flash protection boundary distance.

The standard is designed to protect employees working inside these flash protection boundaries by requiring protective clothing for corresponding Hazard/Risk Category that has an arc thermal performance value (ATPV) of at least the value listed in the "Protective Clothing Characteristics" section of the standard. The vast majority of major companies in the U.S. have some employees who work on or near energized electrical conductors or circuit parts. In addition, the Department of Energy has required that federal and contractor employees comply with NFPA 70E and the 2008 National Electric Code (NEC) references the NFPA 70E standard. Finally, OSHA considers the NFPA 70E standard a "recognized industry practice."

When incident energy exceeds 40 cal/cm2 at the working distance, greater emphasis than normal should be placed on de-energizing before working on or near the exposed electrical conductors or circuit parts.

Arc Flash Protective Clothing Requirements

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269 (l)(6)(iii)

"The employer shall ensure that each employee who is exposed to the hazards of flames or electric arcs does not wear clothing that, when exposed to flames or electric arcs, could increase the extent of injury that would be sustained by the employee."

Clothing made from acetate, nylon, polyester and rayon either pure or blended should not be worn when working in hazardous environments.

Clothing made from 100% cotton or wool must be determined acceptable for the conditions the worker will be exposed to. Clothing made from flame-resistant materials, that meet current ASTM F1506, is acceptable.

ASTM F1506

This standard details the specifications of a textile to be used by an electrical worker as a means of electrical arc protection. A garment must include a label, which states the following information:

  • Tracking I.D. Code
  • Meets ASTM F1506
  • Manufacturer's name
  • Care Instructions & Fiber Content
  • Size
  • "Arc Rating" - ATPV or EBT.

Is used as the test method to measure arc rated products intended to protect the face of workers exposed to electrical arcs.

Issues Related to Compliance to OSHA
on an Effective Electrical Training Program

"A Qualified Person"
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.399

A Qualified Person is, "One that is familiar with the construction and operation of the equipment and the hazards involved"

  1. An employee needs to be trained in the hazards involved, with Qualified training. Per OSHA 29 CFR 1910.331-335 (6) Safety Related Work Practices, Documentation of this training should be on file with the employer.

  2. The employer Qualifies the employee, not the training instructor. The employer must develop a comprehensive an Electrical Safety-Related Work Practice program per NFPA 70-E Article 110. This program must be implemented by the employer, to the identified employees.

  3. The employer needs to verify the employee's practical field experience meets the requirements of the conditions of the job description example 600V and below or above 600V. Example: A four year training Apprentice Program and Journeyman education classes, college classes. Record of qualification must be kept on file.

  4. The employee needs to be supplied the proper PPE equipment for the specific job task. If training of this PPE equipment is required the employer must supply and document. If equipment needs testing, the employer needs to supply testing and documentation, and keep test results on file.

  5. The employer shall document the employees has been "Qualified by the employer" for the job task description with the proper PPE's. Records of this qualification must be dated and filed.

  6. Energized Work Permits are required by NFPA 70E Article 130.1 for all energized work. The employer must develop this document with the procedures to be followed in its application. This document must be explained to the qualified employees. A sample of this document can be found in the NFPA 70E 2004 edition (Annex J) page 70E-85.

  7. The employer needs to establish a discipline action plan for employee's violation to the company policies on the safe work practices as described in the job description. Employees should sign that they have received, understand, and accept the provisions of the discipline plan. Record of acceptance, must be kept on file.

  8. The employer's must perform audits to verify that the employee's are complying with the safety-related work practices as described in their training and job description. Record of audits must be kept on file. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269 Subpart (A) Par. 2&3
Contact your local OSHA office for assistance in the development of an action plan which meets all therequirements determined by OSHA.

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