Everyone can help ensure electrical safety in the workplace, but employers and safety professionals have a special interest in ensuring that employees go home safely at the end of the day. There are many ways to create and increase electrically safe working conditions, and they are all based on training and awareness of what constitutes an electrical hazard, and arranging the workplace to minimize or eliminate such hazards.
The NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace (2012), outlines provisions for employers to protect employees from electrical hazards. NFPA 70E covers safety-related work practices, safety-related maintenance requirements, and safety requirements for special equipment.
As someone with a particular interest in safety and arranging the workplace to minimize or eliminate such hazards, you are likely already aware that there were changes to NFPA 70E©, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, for 2012. This paper will discuss some of those changes and their impact on the workplace.
Most of the significant 2012 changes are in Chapter 1; changes to Chapters 2 and 3 were largely made for clarification and editorial reasons. Changes to the Annexes are mainly evident to in Annex F, D, H, J, and O, with a new Annex.
How will you know whether these changes affect you? It's simple: NFPA 70E standards are for the workplace, so most, if not all, employers will be affected. That means many employees will be affected as well. While electrical safety training for employees is a great place to start ensuring workplace safety, as an employer you can inform yourself by becoming familiar with the changes to NFPA 70E and determining how they will specifically affect your workplace.