NFPA 70E

mjc1060

Member
When working for a company that does not follow NFPA70E or any other safety program. What is the responsibility of the electrician working under these conditions. I worked in construction went through an IBEW apprenticship program and was trained in OSHA and 70E. I am now working as a maintenance electrician and the company I am currently working for has no safety program. As an employee how much liability are we responsible for if any?
 

zog

Senior Member
Location
Charlotte, NC
When working for a company that does not follow NFPA70E or any other safety program. What is the responsibility of the electrician working under these conditions. I worked in construction went through an IBEW apprenticship program and was trained in OSHA and 70E. I am now working as a maintenance electrician and the company I am currently working for has no safety program. As an employee how much liability are we responsible for if any?
That is a touchy subject. Liability? None as far as I know, that falls on the employer or owner. You can recomend things or you call contact OSHA incognito and request a site inspection. OSHA will come on site, do an audit, and make "recomendations"
 

WorkSafe

Senior Member
Location
Moore, OK
Well, OSHA does state the following:

OSH Act: 5(b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.
Though I rarely think OSHA cites an actually employee. I figure OSHA would only cite the employee of they were grossly negligent and the employeer was doing everything correctly.

Maybe a simple call to the local OSHA area office could spice things up a bit, or to their insurance carrier.
 

fmtjfw

Senior Member
When working for a company that does not follow NFPA70E or any other safety program. What is the responsibility of the electrician working under these conditions. I worked in construction went through an IBEW apprenticship program and was trained in OSHA and 70E. I am now working as a maintenance electrician and the company I am currently working for has no safety program. As an employee how much liability are we responsible for if any?
Protect yourself. Wear PPE when it is appropriate. Use fall harness. Do lockout tagout. As a maintenance electrician I always wore FR2. I brought in my own rubber gloves... Pay no attention to those that call you a wimp. I eventually browbeat my employer into supplying PPE and testing PPE.

Work safe my friend!
 

WorkSafe

Senior Member
Location
Moore, OK
Like I said, what I pasted in my last post is straight from the OSH Act, directly under the General Duty Clause. So, to say they do not have the authority to hold someone accountable is naive. They may not exercise the option to hold an employee accountable, but the option is still there nonetheless. Nobody said OSHA can fine an individual employee.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
I'm kinda suprised that union contractors are so lax on this, we had a union contractor involved in an arc flash incident that was subcontracting a job in an area where non union contractors are strongly opposed. Their employees were not wearing any PPE or using any voltage rated tools. Our policy would not let them do what they did. If they had at the minimum voltage rated tools, those boys would not have been spending time in the ICU.
 

Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
OSHA has no authority at all to fine, or otherwise hold an employee in any way at fault.
EmolyEE, yes but that may be changing depending on the level of authority of the employee. EmployERs of course get fined all the time.

http://ehstoday.com/standards/osha/fines-oconnell-electric-worker-arc-flash-injury-0015

One thing that is often mistaken though is that OSHA does not issue them specifically for violations of NFPA 70E, they issue them for "not having an adequate electrical safety program", whatever that may entail. If you follow 70E, they will consider that an adequate safety program. So the connection to 70E is more indirect than most people realize. There was another more recent case I read about than the one on the link above, but I couldn't remember enough details to find it with Google. What I do remember however was that the SUPERVISOR was specifically named and cited as well, although I can't remember if he was fined.

Regardless of the fines, and even of the outcome of any appeal, the day after OSHA shows up on a job site, the hyenas (lawyers) move in to feast on the wounded animal. Most of the time even if someone beats the rap on an OSHA fine, the cost to defend themselves in the ensuing lawsuits will FAR exceed any cost to implement a worker safety program. They should have their heads examined...

This is probably the best and most concise write up on this issue I have read, I recommend it to people when I do Arc Flash presentations:
http://www.reliabilityweb.com/art05/nfpa_70e.htm


But I have never heard of them going after employees that were not in a position of authority, that would be pointless anyway.
 

pfalcon

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
When working for a company that does not follow NFPA70E or any other safety program. ... and the company I am currently working for has no safety program. ...
OSHA does not per se mandate the use of the 70E. OSHA does mandate safety as stated in the General Duty Clause. If your company has no safety program then an OSHA auditor will use the NFPA70E as the reference source for judgement. So effectively when a company doesn't acknowledge a safety standard - it defaults to the NFPA70E.
 

Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
There was another more recent case I read about than the one on the link above, but I couldn't remember enough details to find it with Google. What I do remember however was that the SUPERVISOR was specifically named and cited as well, although I can't remember if he was fined...
Found my notes.

It wasn't OSHA specifically, the incident was in Canada involving Thyssen Krupp. The company AND the supervisor were both fined. But this was brought up during a presentation on Arc Flash safety compliance that I attended, put on by a recently retired OSHA inspector (being paid as a consultant by Siemens for the presentation), and he indicated that OSHA was going to be looking into taking this step as well.

But I thought I'd better clear that up, OSHA is not yet doing this.
 

WorkSafe

Senior Member
Location
Moore, OK
It would literally take an act of Congress to actually fine a individual supervisor. Hopefully nothing like this does happen. Only agency I know that can do this is the EPA. You dump your coffee into the grass and they haul you off to jail and fine ya. ;-)
 

wtucker

Senior Member
Location
Connecticut
OSHA

OSHA

It would literally take an act of Congress to actually fine a individual supervisor... Only agency I know that can do this is the EPA.
Yup, OSHA cannot levy any penalty against an employee, only an employer. (Read the Penalties section of the OSHA Act, Sect. 17 http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=OSHACT&p_id=2743

And 29 CFR 1977(b)(2) gives you the right to refuse in good faith to expose yourself to a dangerous situation. http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=11340 Use this to encourage your new boss to develop a safety program.

Either way, who said OSHA had anything to do with assigning liability?

It's entirely possible that an employee may be criminally liable for another employee's death, either through criminal negligence or intentional wrongdoing. (A few years ago, there was a crane accident in our state that resulted in two fatalities. It took OSHA nearly a year to investigate, because everyone "lawyered up" and wouldn't say a word without their lawyer's presence--because they were quite rightly concerned that OSHA's investigation results would wind up on the prosecutor's desk.)

OSHA, I understand, doesn't get involved in civil cases. But you can be sued as an individual for obeying the boss's orders an doing something you know is unsafe that results in someone else's death.
 

kenaslan

Senior Member
Location
Billings MT
TKRI likes to cut corners when it comes to electrical safety. I designed a 600V panel once on an overland conveyor for them. Mech only put 14" clear space. I mentioned that was not code, there response was no one will know. Then the inspector showed up with a tape measure....he knew. A little over $125,000.00 later they had their safety working clearence. They will never learn. I worked with them for 4 years.
 

captainwireman

Senior Member
Location
USA, mostly.
When working for a company that does not follow NFPA70E or any other safety program. What is the responsibility of the electrician working under these conditions. I worked in construction went through an IBEW apprenticship program and was trained in OSHA and 70E. I am now working as a maintenance electrician and the company I am currently working for has no safety program. As an employee how much liability are we responsible for if any?
My opinion is we all have a great responsibility to get these "employers" to adhere to NFPA70E. The reason it was implemented was because of the deaths and horrific injuries caused by arc-flash. "It was always done like this in the past" is NOT a justification. If there is resistance be smart, record everything, approach a situation like you will go to trial over it, and please stay safe for yourself and loved ones.
 

G._S._Ohm

Senior Member
Location
DC area
Generally, if you give your name to a fed agency for something like this, your boss will know before you even hang up the phone.

A government oversight group, I think it is PoGo, wrote a $13 book on what to do before you act. The head guy at this place, an attorney, might have been named Devine.
I will say 5K fatalities/yr (from food poisoning, for instance) doesn't mean much in this country, unless it's personal.
 

WorkSafe

Senior Member
Location
Moore, OK
My opinion is we all have a great responsibility to get these "employers" to adhere to NFPA70E. The reason it was implemented was because of the deaths and horrific injuries caused by arc-flash. "It was always done like this in the past" is NOT a justification. If there is resistance be smart, record everything, approach a situation like you will go to trial over it, and please stay safe for yourself and loved ones.
This issue we are facing at our base is that supervisors and the bosses think they can work live anytime if they follow 70E. It's like I'm talking to myself when I tell them they can only work live if they fall under one of OSHA's exceptions, which 99% of the time they can't. I even have some coworkers in the safety community who feel it's okay to work live if they have PPE. :rant:
 

pfalcon

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
This issue we are facing at our base is that supervisors and the bosses think they can work live anytime if they follow 70E. ...
Well, yeah, they CAN work live anytime they follow the 70E. But the 70E doesn't permit working live anytime you like.

NFPA70E:2012:130.2.A said:
(1) Greater Hazard. Energized work shall be permitted where the employer can demonstrate that de-energizing introduces additional hazards or increased risk.
NFPA70E:2012:130.2.A said:
(2) Infeasability. Energized work shall be permitted where the employer can demonstrate that the task to be performed is infeasible in a de-energized state due to equipment design or operational limitations.
NFPA70E:2012:130.2.A said:
(3)Less Than 50 Volts. ...
Think about it. These are the exceptions and have to be demonstratable. They don't allow whims or excuses. And it's not your company that gets to make the judgement on whether they've been met. OSHA judges. It's not a design limitation when you refuse to put in a local disconnecting means - that's a design mistake that OSHA expects you to fix the FIRST time you deal with it.
 

WorkSafe

Senior Member
Location
Moore, OK
Well, yeah, they CAN work live anytime they follow the 70E. But the 70E doesn't permit working live anytime you like.



Think about it. These are the exceptions and have to be demonstratable. They don't allow whims or excuses. And it's not your company that gets to make the judgement on whether they've been met. OSHA judges. It's not a design limitation when you refuse to put in a local disconnecting means - that's a design mistake that OSHA expects you to fix the FIRST time you deal with it.
Yes, I know. They don't meet the exceptions from OSHA. They don't shut it down because it will interrupt production. They stab 480v bussbars all day long when installing new equipment. They have the means to shut it down, but they just don't. Unfortunately, it will probably take an accident for them to realize that. Frustrating to say the least.
 

John120/240

Senior Member
Location
Olathe, Kansas
A scheduled shutdown is always perferred vs an unscheduled one. Pick a night time, weekend,

or 6 AM sunday morning. Why work hot when you don't have to ?

You are working HOT. A tool may get droped & lands across two bus bars. Now you have an

unscheduled shut down. Personal injury or death can happen plus what equipment damage

occured ? Just say NO. HELL NO.
 
Top