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Illustrated Changes to the NEC, 2002 Edition - Part 1

Article 110

Requirements For Electrical Installations

110.16 Flash Protection

A new Code section and two FPN’s were added to provide requirements for marking equipment where arc fault hazards may be present. The new section reads:

Switchboards, panelboards, industrial control panels, and motor control centers in commercial and industrial occupancies, that are likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized, must be field marked to warn qualified persons on the danger of electric arc flash. Figure 110–4 Photo of actual blast. The marking must be clearly visible to qualified persons before they examine, adjust, service, or perform maintenance on the equipment. Figure 110–5

FPN No. 1: NFPA 70E-2000, Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces, provide assistance in determining the severity of potential exposure, planning safe work practices, and selecting personal protective equipment. Figure 110–6

FPN No. 2: ANSI Z535.4-1998, Product Safety Signs and Labels, provide guidelines for the design of safety signs and labels.
Figure 110–7


Intent: This new section addresses the concern of protecting qualified persons who work on energized electrical systems, by ensuring they are notified of the arc flash hazards to assist in the selection of proper personal protective equipment. The “incident energy” for the selection of personal protective equipment under NFPA 70E is not required, just a sign warning that dangerous electric arc flash could be present. For more information about flash protection, click here for Word document or here for PDF document.

The following is an actual example of an OSHA Citation on this subject:

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations alleging two willful safety violations to _____ Electric Company, Detroit, Mich., with proposed penalties totaling $140,000.
According to Deborah Zubaty, OSHA’ s area director in Columbus, Ohio; a safety inspection was initiated at a _____ Electric Company job site in Columbus on June 29, 2000, following an accident. An employee died from injuries, which resulted from an electrical arc blast during the installation of a ground wire on a pole. The conductor was energized with 7,620V phase-to-ground, 13,200V phase-to-phase.
The alleged willful violations include failure to train employees on procedures and hazards related to working within 2 ft. of energized power lines, failure to maintain safe approach distances to energized lines, and failure to insulate or guard energized parts.
Zubaty said that _____ Electric Company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The company may also request an informal hearing with the OSHA area director.

Author’s Comment: OSHA defines a willful violation as one in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.


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