Responding is Stephanie Zizzo, EH&S specialist, Summit Training Source Inc., Grand Rapids, MI.
NFPA 70E is the standard used to provide a useful and safe working area for employees who work with, or are exposed to, electrical hazards. One of the ways to reduce exposure to hazards is to educate your employees on how to avoid them.
As stated in the 2012 edition of the NFPA 70E handbook, section 110.2(A), safety training applies to employees who face a risk of electrical hazard that is not reduced to a safe level by applicable electrical installation requirements. Such employees should be trained to understand the specific hazards associated with electrical energy. Keeping with the 2012 handbook, to elevate the understanding of each worker, certain electrical safety training topics should be included in training presentations, including:
- How to avoid exposure to each hazard
- What electrical hazards are present in the workplace
- How to select and inspect personal protective equipment
- How to perform a hazard identification and risk assessment analysis
- How each electrical hazard affects body tissues
- One of the main changes in the 2012 handbook is regarding requirements in section 110.2(D)(3) – Retraining. The standard reads the same as previous versions except for the last sentence: “Retraining shall be performed at intervals not to exceed three years.” This new rule has been put in place to ensure everyone is up to date on their training. Also, 120.2(B)(2) has been updated to require lockout/tagout retraining as well.
Supervisors should remember that although the standard now requires refresher training to be conducted at least every three years, reviews and updates to your training are still encouraged and recommended on a more annual basis. In agreement with NFPA 70E, anytime you implement new equipment or processes that pose new or additional hazards, workers must receive additional training to help further their comprehension of electrical safety. Also, if you reassign an employee to a task they do not usually perform in a normal workday, training must be provided.
Additional NFPA 70E training standards, in accordance with the 2012 NFPA 70E handbook, that have been updated include:
- 105.3: Revised to former 110.3 to clarify that employees are to be trained prior to implementing safety-related work practices
- 110.1(C): Specifies that training on the release of victims from exposed energized equipment is required for employees who are exposed to shock hazards and those who are responsible for taking action in case of such emergencies, as well as an added provision for certifying employees on using an automated external defibrillator
- 110.2(D)(1)(c): Clarifies that on-the-job training associated with this requirement is necessary for the employee to be considered a qualified person and to provide clarity on the duties being performed
- 110.2(D)(2): Clarifies the necessary level of training for unqualified people on electrical safety-related work practices
- 110.2(E): Requires that the “content of training” be included in the training documentation
For more information on the new 2012 NFPA 70E standards, refer to the “2012 NFPA 70E Handbook for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.”
Editor’s Note: This article represents the independent views of the author and should not be construed as National Safety Council endorsements.