Arc Flash Safety

The 2012 NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, has been out for a while now. During the last revision cycle, the NFPA 70E committee received 548 proposals mostly (540 of them) from the public.

As a result, there were a number of new changes that occurred in the 2012 NFPA 70E version. Here is a brief description of some of the major changes:

Arc-Rated (New): The 2012 edition of NFPA 70E will use the term “arc-rated” or “AR” before any reference to “flame-resistant” or “FR.” The term “arc-rated” refers to a material property or attribute in terms of a material’s performance when exposed to an electric arc. Arc-rated material is flame-resistant, but flame-resistant material may not be arc-rated.

Incident Energy Analysis (New Definition): The 2012 edition features a new informational note added to the existing arc flash hazard analysis definition. It defines the term “incident energy analysis” as “a method used to predict the incident energy of an arc flash for a specified set of conditions.”

Arc Flash Boundary (Revision): Previous editions referred to the arc flash protection boundary. The 2012 edition uses the term “arc flash boundary” (AFB). The word “protection” has been deleted.

Section 110.5(C) (New): This section is new to the code and requires a documented meeting between the host employer and contract employer for multiemployer relationships.

Section 110.6(C) Emergency Procedures (Revision): The 2012 edition requires the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED) in addition to the existing requirement of training and employer certification of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This is a great idea!

Section 110.6(D)(1)(f) (New): The language for this new section reads: “The employer shall determine through regular supervision and through inspections conducted on at least an annual basis that each employee is complying with the safety-related work practices required by this standard.” This mirrors similar language to the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269(a)(2)(iii) standard.

Section 110.6(D)(3)(c) (Retraining) (New): The 2012 edition requires all employees to be retrained at intervals not to exceed three years.

Section 110.7(E) Electrical Safety Program Procedures (Revision): The 2012 edition incorporates language to include working within the AFB in addition to the existing requirement for working within the limited approach boundary (LAB). It is possible that the AFB could be greater than the LAB and vice versa.

Section 120.2(C)(2) (Form of Control) (Revision): The 2012 edition removes individual employee control as one of three forms of control of hazardous electrical energy, leaving the two methods: simple and complex lockout/tag out.

Section 130.1(A) General (Revision): The 2009 edition requires that energized conductors or circuit parts are placed into an electrically safe working condition before an employee works within the LAB. New language expands this requirement to apply if any of the following conditions exist:

  • The employee is within the LAB (same as before)
  • The employee is within the AFB
  • The employee interacts with equipment where conductors or circuit parts are not exposed, but an increased risk of arc flash hazard exists

Table 130.2(C) Approach Boundaries to Energized Electrical Conductors or Circuit Parts for Shock Protection (Revision): The 2012 edition features a renumbered version of this table as Table 130.2(C)(1), and it will specifically apply to alternating current (AC) power systems. A new table, 130.2(C)(2) applies to direct current (DC) power systems.

Section 130.3 Exception No. 1 (Revision): This exception is based on language found in Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Std. 1584—Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations. Exception 1 stated that an arc flash hazard analysis shall not be required on circuits rated 240 volts (V) or less and supplied by one transformer if the transformer is less than 125 kilovolt-amperes. This exception has been deleted. In its place, an informational note will state that an arc flash hazard analysis may not be necessary for some three-phase systems rated less than 240V. It will then reference the IEEE standard for more information.

Section 130.3(A) Arc Flash Boundary (Revision): The 2012 edition will not feature the “four foot rule” in this section, and there will no longer be separate sections for the AFB at voltage levels between 50V and 600V and voltage levels above 600V. The revised language will state that the AFB for systems 50V and greater shall be the distance at which the incident energy is 1.2 calories per square centimeter. Instead of the “four foot rule,” AFB will be located in Table 130.7(C)(9). This is an important one!

Section 130.3(C) Equipment Labeling (Revision): This section provides more guidance on what equipment needs labeling based on language similar to the 2011 NEC. Electrical equipment—such as switchboards, panel boards, industrial control panels, meter socket enclosures and motor control centers—and that are likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing or maintenance while energized, shall be field-marked with a label containing all of the following information:

(1) Only one of the following:

a. Available incident energy

b. Minimum arc rating of clothing

(2) Date of arc flash hazard analysis

(3) Nominal system voltage

(4) Equipment identification

(5) Arc flash boundary

Section 130.7(C)(X) (Hearing Protection) (New): Employees shall wear hearing protection whenever working within the AFB. Previous editions only listed hearing protection in Table 130.7(C)(10) Protective Clothing and Personal Protective Equipment and did not address it specifically. The new language clarifies when hearing protection is required as well as the appropriate requirements for that protection.

Category 2* Deleted (Revision): Category 2 will require a balaclava sock or an arc flash suit hood. There was an inconsistency with Section 130.7(C)(1), which required all parts of the body inside the AFB to be protected. This is an important one!

Section 130.7(C)(13)(a) (Arc Flash Suits) (Revision): Additional language state: “When the incident energy exposure is greater than 12 cal/cm2, a suitably rated arc flash suit hood shall be used.”

Section 130.7(C)(13)(b) (Face Protection) (Revision): The 2012 edition features new language in this section, requiring face shields with a wraparound guarding to protect the face, chin, forehead, ears and neck to be used.


The 2012 edition of NFPA 70E established many positive changes and I only covered some of the major ones. To learn about the new standard and how to become a qualified worker take our NFPA 70E class.

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Tragic Vehicle Swinging Cranes Accidents

In 2009, more than 150 construction workers died due to being struck by vehicles. One of the most deadly hazards is being struck by cranes or crane parts. The following video shows how a worker standing on an area out of the driver’s rear view can lead to the crane’s unloading positioning swings to hit…

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Safety vs Cost

safety vs cost

safety vs cost

With competition increasing, companies must be concerned about cutting costs and trimming expenses. These costs must be reduced not only to save money, but also to compete with other organizations who offer similar services.

Although the importance of safety is obvious, it is often very difficult to balance the reality of costs with the necessity for safety programs. But does safety actually cost money? In the short run implementing safety will likely have some costs. After all, production time must be taken for training, and safe equipment must be purchased.

In the long run however safety does not cost a penny. In fact effective safety programs have been known to actually save companies 4 dollars for every dollar spent. Not only will you reduce compensation and insurance costs, but you will keep trained workers, which makes you more efficient and profitable. In addition your customers will continue to use your services ultimately keeping you, your employees, and your subcontractors employed!

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Are you a HazMat employee? You may be surprised!


The DOT defines a Hazmat employee as a person who is “Employed on a full-time, part time, or temporary basis by a hazmat employer and who in the course of such full time, part time or temporary employment directly affects hazardous materials transportation safety”. This includes people who during the course of employment: “(i) Loads,…

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Fleet Safety: What You Need To Know

fleet safety

Did you know?

fleet safety

  • Between 20-30% of fleet vehicles crash each year
  • Fleet crash costs are equal to 13-15% of fleet spending
  • Drivers of company vehicles have 50% more crashes than private drivers
  • Road crashes is the most common form of work-related death

Companies with active road safety programs have achieved 30-65% reductions in work-related traffic accidents and associated costs.

If you are just beginning to address occupational driving risk consider the following options:

Offer a Defensive Driving Seminar: Our Defensive Driving Seminar combines driver safety education with interactive group problem solving. We have developed a unique approach, combining driver safety education with risk resolution, based on national and local research pointing to the things that have achieved the best results in reducing driver risk. Put simply we provide the latest and most effective program to reduce the risks associated with work-related driving.

More importantly our Defensive Driving Seminar targets specific driver behaviors to improve driving habits and prevent accidents.

We offer this session to Safety Partners for as low as $300 per session.

Use a “How am I Driving” Bumper Sticker reporting system: How many times have you been cut off and wished the other vehicles had a bumper sticker? By using a “How am I Driving” campaign you will begin to experience more cautious drivers and ultimately fewer collisions.

Our How am I Driving? System includes a toll free call center where the public can easily report their observations. After words an observation report will be emailed to you so corrective action can be taken. We offer this monitoring service for Safety Partners with small to medium fleets for as low as $150/ year!

Our fleet safety solutions are the most cost effective and professional solutions available! For more information on our new Fleet Safety Initiative call Randy Free at 407-353-8165 or visit


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Psychological health, safety cited as risks

psychological health

Below is a great article on psychological health and safety. Because most would disregard psychological health issues in the workplace or classify as unimportant, often they are left untreated. A recent poll of employees from all over the world has shown comparisons of different countries and their levels of work-related mental-health issues. Results have organizations taking more notice and raised efforts to improve the overall well-being of their employees…

Psychological health, safety cited as risks

REUTERS MARCH 17, 2012psychological health

Companies around the globe have work to do to improve worker satisfaction because three in 10 employees say their workplace is not psychologically safe and healthy, according to a new poll.

Whether it is due to stress, inter-personal conflict, frustration, lack of feedback or promotion, 27 per cent of workers in 24 countries said they are not happy with the psychological aspects of their work environment, the survey by research company Ipsos for Reuters showed.

“Employers need to pay attention to their employees’ mental health, not just their physical health,” said Alexandra Evershed, senior vice-president, Ipsos Public Affairs. “Three in 10 is still a fairly large proportion and that goes up to 44 per cent and 43 per cent in Argentina and Mexico and 42 per cent in Hungary,”

Nearly half, 47 per cent, of the total of 14,618 workers polled agreed that their workplace was ‘a psychologically safe and healthy environment to work in’ and 26 per cent hovered on the fence and weren’t sure.

Although many North Americans have fewer holidays than Europeans and may work longer hours and enjoy fewer social services, Americans and Canadians had the highest marks for positively assessing the mental health of their workplace, followed by workers in India, Australia, Britain and South Africa. Evershed suggested that the improving economies in some countries could have played a part in the positive assessment among employees.

“It’s better than it was,” she said in an interview. “India, China, Brazil, South Africa, these are countries where the economic picture has been brightening.”

To view the article, go to


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Determining if an incident is work-related?

Do you know what specific data is needed when reporting an incident at work? By OSHA, each employer is required to keep records of fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. This means anything from an illness to fatality that is work-related meets one or more of the general recording criteria noted in Section 1904.7. But what are the exceptions? There are instances in which an illness/injury doesn’t have to be recorded as work-related:

  • Employee was present in the workplace as member of the public
  • Employee was engaged in a voluntary fitness program at work
  • The common flu, cold, etc.
  • Mental illness—without the opinion of trained healthcare professional—is not automatically deemed work-related
  • Illnesses resulting from the employee’s food brought in from an outside source
  • Illness or injury resulting from personal tasks completed during working hours
  • Illness or injury resulting from self-grooming, self-medication or self-inflicted injuries (i.e., suicide attempts)

So as a rule of thumb, there must be a causal connection between the employment and the illness or injury before the case is recordable.  It’s also very important to know that if you determine whether an injury/illness is work-related wrong, OSHA has the right to cite you, since they delegate the decision-making process of something to the employer. Also important is that the “work event or exposure need only be one of the discernible causes; it need not be the sole or predominant cause”. Nevertheless, you must consider an injury or illness to meet the general recording criteria if it results in any of the following:

  • Death
  • Days away from work
  • Restricted work or transfer to another job
  • Medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Loss of consciousness

To view the original article, go to

To learn more about OSHA Recordkeeping training, visit

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Dealing With Substance Abuse at Work

drug abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace can lead to tragic accidents if overlooked or unnoticed. According to this article, follow these basic rules if you suspect an employee or co-worker has a substance problem… 1. Watch for signs According to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, indications that an employee might have a substance abuse problem…

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Is fatigue interfering with you job performance?

employee fatigue

According to a recent study by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s Presidential Task Force, employee fatigue in the workplace should be accounted as a major safety concern and prevented and treated properly. An FRMS or Fatigue Risk Management System can be followed to prevent injury or illnesses, increase work productivity, and maintaining a healthy work environment for all employees.

employee fatigue

A number of results from employee fatigue can occur including slowed reaction time, reduced vigilance, reduced decision-making ability, poor judgment, distraction during complex tasks and loss of awareness.

The key components of an FRMS in an organization should include:

  • A fatigue management policy
  • Fatigue risk management including collecting information on fatigue as hazard, analyzing its risk, and instigating controls to mitigate that risk
  • Fatigue reporting system for employees
  • Fatigue incident investigation
  • Fatigue management training and education for employees, management and even families
  • Sleep disorder management
  • A process or the internal and external auditing of the FRMS that delivers corrective actions through a continuous improvement process

According to the same research, one of the biggest reasons for employee fatigue is an increased amount of time at work and tight staffing levels. Instances such as changes in increased workloads, unexpected overtime, or low staffing levels can largely contribute to the problem.

A staffing level can determine:

  • Average amount of overtime per employee;
  • Average time off between shifts;
  • Average time off between consecutive blocks of shifts;
  • Average length of shifts;
  • Average work hours per week;
  • Average number of consecutive days worked;
  • Discrepancy between the published shift schedule and the actual shift schedule worked.
“As a result, the amount of overtime worked by employees is increased, and the additional hours and days worked make the published shift schedule a work of fiction,” claim the members of the task force.

To read the original article, visit

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Tips for Recognizing and Preventing Workplace Violence

According to a survey by AlliedBarton Security Services & David Michaelson and Co., Violence in the American Workplace, about 52% of Americans have witnessed, heard of, or experienced or encountered violence or a situation that could either to violence.  A total of 1,030 were surveyed in this research, 34% of them who either felt somewhat…

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