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In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Big Changes In NFPA 70E For 2015

The NFPA 70E changes for 2015 are substantial. Business owners and safety managers—not just electricians—need to be aware.

Bill Burke, NFPA

Hear from the NFPA’s Bill Burke in this podcast. Bill explains the philosophical shift since the 2012 Standard For Electrical Safety In The Workplace.

The 2015 edition of NFPA 70E is in effect now. We talk about new PPE tables, elimination of HRC (0), and the Prohibited Approach Boundary.

Bill also encourages company owners and safety personnel to consider buying the NFPA 70E Handbook, which includes the new code and easy-to-understand commentary.


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Big_Changes_In_NFPA_70E_For_2015-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x250Bill Burke: This year’s edition of 70E, the majority of the change is really a philosophical shift.

Dan Clark: The NFPA 70E for 2015 is now in effect. Let’s talk about the big changes.

Hi, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

It comes out every three years, the NFPA 70E Standard For Electrical Safety In The Workplace. Bill Burke of the group that put together, the National Fire Protection Association, describes the 2015 edition’s philosophical shift:

Bill: We have gone much more toward risk assessment.

Dan: Risk assessment.

Big_Changes_In_NFPA_70E_For_2015-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x282Bill: A major component of that risk assessment has to do with maintenance. For the first time ever we’ve really, kind of, rolled that in, so that as a facility manager, they know what equipment’s been maintained, and what the status of that equipment is.

Dan: Bill says the NFPA standard still considers the basic dangers of electricity.

Bill: Certainly, 70E guards against shock and arc flash. One of the things that we look for in those has to do with risk assessment now.

Dan: Some of the specific changes from the 2012 standard include:

* New PPE tables.

* Elimination of HRC (0), the Hazard/Risk Category (0).

* Elimination of the Prohibited Approach Boundary.

* Warning Label Content – they’ve clarified the requirement that the electrical equipment owner is responsible for documenting, installing and maintaining field installed labels.

Some of this is electrician speak, but the NFPA encourages company owners and safety managers to be familiar with the new standards, and they don’t have to be electricians to be vigilant.

Bill: I can talk about arc flash all day, but to a non-electrical audience, I think it’s far more important that they understand that maintenance is a key component now. One of the things the building owners don’t realize is that they have certain responsibilities when it comes to doing electrical work.

Dan: The NFPA 70E can be very complicated.

Bill: Yes. 70E can go from sixth grade to MIT pretty quickly.

Dan: So they publish two versions: the standard code and the handbook.

Bill: For those folks, especially, in facilities that are not necessarily electrical experts, I would really recommend the handbook. The code, just like the National Electric Code, is physically a code. It’s speaking in code language and those are rules for implementation. The handbook includes the entire code, verbatim, but it also includes commentary. And, in a nutshell, it says “What you just read really means this.”

Dan: The handbook can be read by any manager or worker

Bill: It has a tendency to take it out of code-speak, to put in perspective with someone who’s not necessarily an electrical expert, to take it and get a much better understanding of what’s going on. Personally, myself, even use the handbook.

Dan: That’s Bill Burke, Division Manager of Electrical Engineering for the NFPA. Thanks to Bill for his insight.

The standard became the standard when it became available online at in August, 2014. All previous editions are outdated. The book editions of NFPA 70E for 2015 are available now, October 2014, as either the standard or handbook versions. Follow the links in the transcript of this podcast at

That’s it for this episode on The Big Changes In NFPA 70E For 2015. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at


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