Electrical Safety in the Workplace: 2018 NFPA 70E Regulations & Training

Safety when dealing with electricity cannot be overstated. It can be easy to forget or downplay the risks when they are part of your regular work routine, but employees that work with or near electricity should use extreme caution at all times to avoid injury.

The four main types of injuries resulting from an electrical current are:

  1. Electrocution
  2. Electric shock
  3. Burns
  4. Falls

Electrical hazards, specifically shock, arc flash, and arc blast, can result in serious injury or even death. According to statistics gathered by ESFI (the Electrical Safety Foundation International), from 2003 to 2010, there were 1,738 work fatalities due to contact with electrical current.

These risks are not “just part of the job.” Minimizing hazards is necessary for providing an electrically safe work environment and is the responsibility of the employer. Failure for an employer to minimize these risks, and ensure proper training for all employees, can result in the employer being held responsible for any accidents that occur in the workplace, incident-related costs, and potential loss of insurance.

Establishing Electrical Safety in the Workplace

Employers need to establish, document and strictly follow an electrical safety program. A group comprised of different levels of personnel (equipment operators, engineers, supervisors, etc.) should be used to identify all hazards associated with electrical equipment and how to mitigate them.

Electrical Safety Regulations

OSHA requires electrical safety training for the workplace, and meeting these requirements is required by law. The requirements outline who should be trained in electrical safety, basic electrical safety practices, and more.

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), the leading industry resource for electrical and fire safety requirements, helps employers meet OSHA standards for electrical safety.

2018 NFPA 70E

The NFPA 70E, titled the “Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace,” covers electrical safety requirements for employees and is updated with any changes each year. The changes to the 2018 NFPA 70E place an emphasis on controlling risk.

Some of the changes include:

  • New information on PPE (personal protective equipment) labels
  • Reorganized and reworded LOTO (lockout-tagout) procedures
  • New requirement to complete a Job Safety Analysis before work

Electrical Safety Training

Staying on top of changes to regulations and communicating them to employees through proper training is crucial for employers. That’s why CLMI is dedicated to helping employers comply with OSHA standards to improve employee health and well-being. Our training video, “Safe Electrical Work Practices & the 2018 NFPA 70E” covers everything employers need to know about the new requirements and how to keep employees safe.
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