NFPA 70E: What’s in the 2018 edition?: Your questions answered

Presenter Lanny Floyd answers questions about changes to NFPA 70E that were not addressed during the live webcast.

By Plant Engineering December 7, 2017

The "NFPA 70E: What’s in the 2018 edition?” webcast was presented live on Nov. 30, 2017 by Lanny Floyd, PE, CSP, CESCP and a Life Fellow at IEEE. The webcast can be found on the archive site at

There wasn’t time to address all of the questions from the webcast’s attendees, and Floyd has supplied written answers to some of those questions:

Q: Are there any major changes in the 2018 NFPA 70E?

Floyd: The major changes in are highlighted in the forward of the standard.  NFPA provides free access to read all of its standards.  This feature does not enable printing or downloading standards for free.  Go to this URL: Code=70E

Q: Are rescue hooks and training required?

Floyd: In addition to the major changes highlighted in the forward, all changes are noted with grey highlighting throughout the standards.

Q: Must an on work site work team member be trained in CPR and AED usage?

Floyd: NFPA 70E provides guidance on training for employees responsible for emergency response. CPR and AED training is not required unless the employees have responsibility for emergency response.

Q: Are there any additional training requirements specified in the 2018 NFPA 70E?

Floyd: There are refinements to the training requirements in article 110.2.

Q: Table 130.7 C) (14) Arc rated Gloves. What glove meets these new testing qualification’s ?

Floyd: You will need to get that information from a glove supplier.  The leather protectors for voltage rated gloves do not have an arc rating, however the protection afforded by voltage rated gloves is addressed in  article 130..7(C)10(d).
Q: Status on NFPA70E being implemented at smaller companies.  Any examples of OSHA fining smaller companies fro violations?
Floyd: NFPA 70E is aimed at protecting all workers potentially exposed to electrical hazards in their work environment, with the exception of the workplaces specifically noted in Article 90. The excluded workplaces have different guiding documents addressing safe work practices.  OSHA  cites employers for failing to comply with OSHA regulations, and uses industry consensus standards like NFPA 70E to support their citations.
Q: Regarding DC Battery Assembly manufacturing: Will there be clarifications to the DC sections for calculating Incident Energy, so that proper PPE can be selected?
Floyd: There are some changes in Table 130.7(C)(15)(B) Arc-Flash Hazard PPE Categories for DC Systems, espcially  in Informational Notes 1&2.  There is also ongoing work in IEEE 1584 to provide better analysis tools for DC systems.
Q: Is anything new for Educational Institutions?

Floyd: Everything in NFPA 70E is applicable to Educational institutions.

Q: How should NFPA 70E be addressed in construction specifications?

Floyd: One thing you could consider is to require contractors’ electrical safety programs to conform with requurements of NFPA 70E. You should then audit compliance to make sure what you are getting.

Q: Does Code or OSHA requires arc flash  calculation for personnel protection at motor terminals even when remote disconnect is off for electrician to confirm that there is no power when maintaining the motor?
Floyd: Neither OSHA or NFPA 70E is that specific.  If there is risk of arc flash or shock injury, then appropriate mesaures should be taken to reduce that risk.
Q: What’s new? 2 How to implement the changes?

Floyd: Rather tahan compare to what is different betwee the 2018 revisoon and the 2015 revision, I suggest comapring your existing electrical safety program to the 2018 edition. This will help identify gaps and opportuniteis fro reducuing risk of electrical injuries.

Q: I understand the 2018 70E has addressed and allows the use of door/panel mounted absence of voltage type light verification displays. Does OSHA accept these as verification of absence of voltage?

Floyd: OSHA regulations do not specify what technology should be used.  The guidance in NFPA 70E provides ways to comply with OSHA intent.

Q: With PPE do people put too much reliance in it and feel like that is all they need?

Floyd: PPE can create an illusion of control.  USE of PPE highly  vulnerable to human error in hazard assessmnt, PPE selection, training on how and what to wear, workers recognizing when it is needed, etc. etc.

Q: Once a piece of equipment becomes hard wired it essentially changes from portable to permanent. Is your presentation suggesting that all user operated electrical equipment be powered by GFI devices and if not where do you draw the line between when is should be used and when it’s not needed?

Floyd: This has to be addresses on a case by case basis. The questiuons are: 1) will a GFCI device reduce risk of electric shock for this specific application,? and 2)  Would hard wiring reduce risk of discontinuity in equipment grounding?. In some situations, risk assessment may determone that both are needed, such as with equipment involved with swimming pools, etc. 

Q: Why wouldn’t UK have a higher fatality rate since they use 240V 1P instead of 120V 1P voltage?

Floyd: The UK, other western Europen countries, Australia, Japan and other countries place greater emphasis on the top three controls in the heirarchy of controls than we do in the US..  The top three controls address risk reduction in design of tools, equipment, and systems. To learn more, visit the NIOSH Prevention through Design website.

Q: Do you see Prevention thru Design getting some traction in the USA in the near future?  (That is, requiring equipment manufacturers the liability for providing safe machines – similar to ISO 13849 in Europe).

Floyd: Some companies are very aggressive in applying PtD concepts.  I’m not sure if we will see mandatory regulations anytime in the near future.  To get around the challenges in making new regulations, OSHA included PtD guidance in  the October 2016 publication "Recommended Practices for Occupational  Safety & Health Programs (available as free download – search on the title)

Q: 96% or so of all arc flash incidents involve ground faults. Why is there no mention that the use of ungrounded systems will eliminate 96% of all arc flash incidents?

Floyd: The impact of grounding for reducing arc flash events is discussed in Annex O. Undgrounded systems are not specically mentioned, however high resistance grounding is.  High resistance grounding provides voltage stabality druing fault conditions as well as reducing magnitude of ground fault currents.