New Regulations, NEC Labeling Requirement
OSHA is now citing and fining employers for failure to protect employees from the dangers of arc flash. For guidelines on best practices for protecting employees, OSHA refers employers to the 2012 edition of NFPA 70E standard, “Standard For Electrical Safety In the Workplace.”
The NFPA 70E 2012 edition instructs employers to conduct an arc flash analysis to determine the amount of thermal energy that could be generated in an arc flash incident. The information is then used to define a flash protection boundary around the potential source, and to determine the level of arc-rated apparel and other personal protection equipment required when employees cross the boundary while they work on or near exposed live parts.
In addition, the National Electric Code® (known as NFPA 70, which is different than NFPA 70E) added a requirement in 2002 mandating that potential arc flash hazards be labeled to warn of the hazard. The requirement, covered under Article 110.16, was updated and expanded in the 2005 version of the NEC. In the newly updated 2012 edition of NFPA 70E, these requirements from the NEC have been included to streamline industry best-practices. These requirements can now be found under article 130.5 (C) within the 2012 edition of NFPA 70E.