The 3 changes to NFPA70E that will have the biggest impact on you

After NFPA70E had been given it’s 2018 overhaul it left all those who just finally managed to implement the 2015 changes thrilled with the news, and now you can't wait to get back out there modify your program and training again.

But let's take a closer look just to see what's really going to make an impact on the way we do things. In this article, I'll go over the 3 changes to NFPA70E that will have the biggest impact on you and what you need to do about them.

The NFPA70E 'likelihood' table

This table is fantastic.

It used to exist as part of a somewhat confusing process to determine the arc flash PPE required for a particular task but now it stands alone (as Table 130.5(C)).

The reason I like it so much is it makes deciding, whether or not you would expect an Arc Flash to happen, very easy. And to be honest this is the hardest step when it comes to arc flash safety.

Now when you are determining Arc Flash PPE you can look here first and see if the task you are doing even warrants wearing PPE at all. Simply find the task and see if the likelihood of occurrence is "Yes" or "No".

If it's a yes, wear PPE if not, continue on. 

Arc Rated Clothing Selection Simplified

Wow, I'm amazed... two in a row.

Now instead of trying to solve the equivalent of a Rubix cube to determine what combination of arc rated PPE to wear the technical committee has got it down to a two-part system. Basically below 12 cal/cm2 and above 12 cal/cm2.

I still stand by my even simpler approach which is to cover every piece of skin with something rated higher than what's on the label.

Required Documentation of Job Safety Planning

This was always the elephant in the room.

Prior to the 2018 edition, the standard always required a job briefing be done but made no mention of the requirement to document the discussion. 

More than once I sat in an auditorium where eager industrial leaders asked knowledgeable technical committee members if they needed to write anything down to prove a job briefing was done. They never got a straight answer.

Now you've got a straight answer, the job safety plan shall (there it is... the shall word) be documented. And of course, it has to be documented.

Why didn't everyone just accept this in the first place? You can't prove anything in the safety world without some form of documentation... "Well, I told him not to touch that" doesn't quite hold up in the court of law.

All in all, I really like what's been done in the latest revision of NFPA70E. In my opinion, everything is straightforward to implement and probably easier than what you were already doing anyway. Need more information on NFPA70E? Get in touch with our Arc Flash Specialists here. 

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