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Arc Flash Safety

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published the ninth edition of the NFPA 70E®: Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplace® in 2012. This edition contains an introduction, three chapters, 16 annexes and has many significant changes from the eighth edition.


NFPA 70E covers a full range of electrical and arc flash safety issues, including safety related work practices, maintenance, special equipment requirements and installation. It focuses on protecting people and identifies requirements that are considered necessary to provide a workplace that is free of electrical hazards. OSHA bases its electrical safety mandates, found in Subpart S part 1910 and Subpart K part 1926, on the comprehensive information found in NFPA 70E. NFPA 70E is recognized as the tool that illustrates how an employer might comply with these OSHA standards. The relationship between the OSHA regulations and NFPA 70E can be described as the “shall” (OSHA) and the “how” (NFPA 70E).

 You can purchase your own NFPA 70E electrical training through the Online SafetyManager[SM] service.

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Commonly Asked Questions:

Q:   How do I determine what level of protection I need for my job task?
A:   First, check out reference table 130.7(C)(9)(a) of the NFPA 70E 2004 edition. This will determine the hazard category of your job task (0-4). Second, consult reference table 130.7(C)(10) of the standard to determine what clothing and equipment is required based on the hazard/risk category that was determined. Third, look at reference table 130.7(C)(11) to determine what ATPV rating is necessary. Once you have determined the ATPV rating, simply find the ATPV rating on the garment (required on tag) that meets or exceeds your requirement.
Q:   What if my job task is not listed in Table 130.7(C)(9)(a) of NFPA 70E standard?
A:   A flash hazard analysis must be done. The Duke Power Flux Calculator meets this requirement.
Q:   Is compliance with NFPA 70E mandatory?
A:   No. NFPA 70E is a national consensus safety standard published by NFPA primarily to assist OSHA in preparing electrical and arc flash safety standards. Federal OSHA has not incorporated it into the Code of Federal Regulations.
Q:   Can I be cited for not complying with NFPA 70E?
A:   Yes. The employer must assess the workplace for electrical hazards and the need for PPE under 29CFR 1910.335(a)(1)(i). Details on how to comply with this standard is up to the employer. The employer is expected to use the best means available to comply with this requirement, and that is done through consensus standard NFPA 70E. Compliance with 70E will assure compliance with this OSHA requirement. In the event of an injury or death due to an electrical accident, if OSHA determines that compliance with 70E would have prevented or lessened the injury, OSHA may cite the employer under the general duty clause. In the 2003 “Standards Interpretation” letter, OSHA stated 70E can be used as evidence of whether the employer acted reasonably.

Electrical and Arc Flash Safety Resource Links

American Society for Testing Materials: ASTM F1506 Standard | 1-610-832-9585.
NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces | 1-617-770-3000.