Key Changes to NFPA's 2021 Electrical Workplace Safety Standards

Electrical safety in the workplace is vitally important: OSHA reports an average of 86 electrocution deaths a year, with an additional 1,7700 to 2,000 electricity-related injuries annually.

The good news is that overall incidents have fallen markedly since 2005, which saw 2,950 injuries related to electricity. This improvement is due in large part to improved NFPA standards and increased adoption of workplace safety management protocols and software. In order to maintain electrical safety in the workplace, organizations need to stay up-to-date on changes to NFPA standards. NFPA 70E, or the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, makes regular electrical workplace safety that needs to be incorporated into your workplace safety plan. 

What is the NFPA 70E?

The NFPA 70E is an American National Standard that defines electrical workplace safety practices. The document is used to provide guidance on how to meet OSHA requirements for electrical safety in the workplace.

Changes to the 2021 Edition of the NFPA 70E

A number of important changes have been made to the 2021 edition of the NFPA 70E. Among the most important changes to workplace safety protocols are revisions of the following sections:

Article 110

Article 110 has been changed somewhat, including rearranging the location of general lockout/tagout principles from Section 120.2. General electrical safe work condition principles and energized work requirements have also been relocated, while the new subsection 110.5(K) now requires a policy on establishing electrically safe work conditions be included in an employer’s electrical safety program. 

Article 130

Article 130 concerns itself with general requirements for work involving electrical hazards in circumstances where safe work conditions cannot be established. The section has been rewritten to maintain focus on such issues, with Sections 130.1 and 130.2 now being rewritten to reflect information once located in Section 130.2(A) to Section 110.3.

Table 130.5(C)

Table 130.5(C) has been revised to more accurately estimate the risk of arc flash incidents, with new entries for internal circuit breakers, switch operations, and after maintenance. 

Section 350.9

To improve electricity workplace safety, Section 350.9 has been revised to better reflect the Informational Note’s data on energy thresholds for electrical equipment and systems in laboratory settings. The table no longer lists capacitive circuit thresholds, as these are now covered in Article 360.

Article 360

A new article in the ever-evolving NFPA standards, Article 360 deals with safety-related requirements for capacitors.

    Training Employees for New NFPA Standards

    The changes listed above are only a sampling of the changes to NFPA standards included in the 2021 edition. The NFPA 70E is a complex document that must be understood by both workplace safety management and employees alike. TPC Training offers instruction in NFPA standards through onsite, offsite, and virtual seminars, allowing you to get your employees up-to-speed on new standards in a timely, safe manner.

    Watch our Previous Webinar about the 2021 NFPA Changes


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