What is the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace?

The NFPA 70E, also titled as the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, is the standard for the National Fire Protection Association. The document is meant to protect employees by covering all the electrical safety requirements in a business or worksite. The NFPA 70E may be best known for the sponsorship of the National Electric Code, which is better known as NFPA 70. This is a regionally adopted standard of the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment within the United States. In short, the NEC pushes the requirements for safe electrical installations in a single standardized source. Creating this standard of safety, even though it is not legally binding, is a way to create a training and construction standard across the country in all newly built and remodeled buildings and workplaces.

The basic requirements of the NFPA 70E break down into three specific areas of safety services for employees in the workplace. These standards also encourage practical safeguards that allow workers to be more productive in their jobs and not have to worry about their own safety in the workplace. Specifically, these three areas are: Electrical conductors and equipment installed within or on buildings or other structures, including mobile homes, recreational vehicles and other premises (like yards, carnivals, parking lots and industrial substations). Installations connected to an electrical supply via various conductors are also covered by the NFPA 70E. And finally, any other outside conductors on a work premises have safety requirements according to the NFPA 70E.

The NFPA 70E was originally developed at the request of the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), to reduce the exposure of people to major electrical hazards. Injuries and fatalities that are meant to be avoided through the NFPA 70E safety standards are shock, electrocution, arc flash and arc blasts. On top of the three specific areas of safety coverage that are a focus of the NFPA 70E, other provisions encompass safe procedures in the workplace, required maintenance to ensure there is no chance of someone being hurt by electricity and requirements for all special pieces of equipment. There is also guidance for identifying future hazards and deciding what is and isn’t risky, choosing the right PPE, setting up work conditions which are safe and employee training, so that the basics of the NFPA 70E are universally known.

A new edition of the NFPA 70E is released every year with various updates to all types of workplace safety information.

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