Safety FAQs

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According to the NFPA 70E, a “Qualified Person" is one who is trained and knowledgeable of the construction and operation of the equipment or the specific work method, and be trained to recognize the hazards present with respect to that equipment or work method.

Such persons shall also be familiar with the use of the precautionary techniques, personal protective equipment, insulating and shielding materials, and insulated tools and test equipment. A person can be considered qualified with respect to certain tasks but still be unqualified for others.

An employee that is undergoing on the job training and who, in the course of such training, has demonstrated the ability to perform duties safely at his or her level of training and who is under the direct supervision of a qualified person shall be considered to be a qualified person for the performance of those duties.

In addition, to be permitted to work within the limited approach of exposed energized conductors and circuit parts the person shall be trained in all of the following:
Qualified employees shall be trained and competent in:
  • The skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed live parts from other parts of electric equipment
  • The skills and techniques necessary to determine the nominal voltage of exposed live parts
  • The minimum approach distances specified in this section corresponding to the voltages to which the qualified employee will be exposed, and,
  • The decision making process necessary to determine the degree and extent of the hazard and the personal protective equipment and job planning necessary to perform the task safely
A few notes to add to the 70E definition.
  • Only the employer can deem an employee qualified after they have had the proper training and have demonstrated profinency using the skills and method learned.
  • There is no such thing as NFPA 70E certification, going to a training course does not make an employee qualified.
  • The most misunderstood part of the "qualified" term is that it is all emcompassing, you are "qualified" to work on a specific type or piece of equipment.
  • Neither a J-card, a masters license, or an engineering degree make you a "qualified person"
  • The word "electrician" is not anywhere in the definition of a "qualified person" meaning these rules apply to all employees and you dont have to be an electrician to be "qualified"
5/05/08 - George editted formatting
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Senior Member
FAQ - Arc Flash Hazard Analysis

FAQ - Arc Flash Hazard Analysis

With the publication of the 1995 NFPA 70E, arc flash was first recognized as an electrical hazard in a national consensus document. Since then, several ASTM standards have been developed to determine the integrity of protective clothing when exposed to an arc flash. With the publication of the 2000 NFPA 70E, a broad consensus was established that determining the incident energy is an acceptable way to categorize (Hazard Risk Category) the degree of hazard associated with an arcing fault.

The NFPA 70E states, ?A Flash Hazard Analysis shall be done in order to protect personnel from the possibility of being injured by an arc flash. The analysis shall determine the Flash Protection Boundary and the personal protective equipment that people within the Flash Protection Boundary shall use.?

A flash hazard analysis consists of 2 parts:

?Determining the flash hazard boundary
?Determining the incident energy level the worker would be exposed to

There are several methods used to conduct an arc flash analysis:
1. Use the tables from the NFPA 70E
2. Use the NFPA 70E equations (Lee method)
3. Use the IEEE 1584 equations
4. Purchase a software suite (SKM, ETAP, EasyPower, to name a few)
5. Contract someone else to do it

While most experts agree that the IEEE 1584 equations are the most accurate, the calculations are very complex and would normally only be used when using a software package. The NFPA 70E equations are simple enough to do using a calculator and while not as accurate they fail on the safe side.

The tables are the most widely used method by EC and testing groups. They are also the most misunderstood and misused. If you use the tables you must use the whole table, INCLUDING THE NOTES SECTION! The tables have many assumptions made about available fault current and protective device clearing times, you must know how to determine IF and WHEN the tables can be used, dont make an assumption that can be your last.


Senior Member
FAQ - Working on or near live parts

FAQ - Working on or near live parts

Most people think of the NFPA 70E as some sort of guide to working on energized equipment when actually it is just the opposite. There are very rare occasions when energized work is permitted.

NFPA 70E Article 130.1 Justification for work. Live parts to which an employee might be exposed shall be put into an electrically safe work condition before an employee works on or near them, unless the employer can demonstrate that deenergizing introduces additional or increased hazards or is infeasible due to equipment design or operational limitations.
Zog's note: If you dont know what "Infeasible" means, look it up; it means "incapable of being done". Dont confuse feasible with convenient.

Energized parts that operate at less than 50 volts to ground are not required to be deenergized if there will be no increased exposure to electrical burns or to explosion due to electric arcs.

NOTE 1: Examples of increased or additional hazards include, but are not limited to, interruption of life support equipment, deactivation of emergency alarm systems, shutdown of hazardous location ventilation equipment
Zog's note: Notice that "removal of illumination for an area" was removed by NFPA in the latest printing due to the fact that temporary lighting can be used.

NOTE 2: Examples of work that may be performed on or near exposed energized electrical conductors or circuit parts because of infeasibility due to equipment design or operational limitations include performing diagnostics and testing (e.g., start-up or troubleshooting) of electric circuits that can only be performed with the circuit energized and work on circuits that form an integral part of a continuous process that would otherwise need to be completely shut down in order to permit work on one circuit or piece of equipment.
I corrected spelling, and added quote brackets to clearly indicate when 70E text was being quoted. -George
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Senior Member
FAQ - Establishing an Electrically Safe Working Condition

FAQ - Establishing an Electrically Safe Working Condition

An electrically safe work condition shall be achieved when verified by performing the following process:

1.Determine all possible sources of electrical supply to the specific equipment. Check applicable up-to-date drawings, diagrams, and identification tags

2.After properly interrupting the load current, open the disconnecting device(s) for each source

3.Where it is possible, visually verify that all blades of the disconnecting devices are fully open or that draw out type circuit breakers are withdrawn to the fully disconnected position

Zogs note: A draw out CB is not designed to be used for isolation unless it is racked out to the disconnected position, just opening the breaker and hangin a lock on it has caused many injuries due to the false sense of security of those not understanding this requirement. Also, the blades of a disconnect must be visually verified open, I have seen many times where 1 phase didnt open. There is a Video about a serious arc flash accident called "the Mark Standifer story" about just that happening.

4.Apply lockout/tagout devices in accordance with a documented and established policy

5.Use an adequately rated voltage detector to test each phase conductor or circuit part to verify they are deenergized. Before and after each test, determine that the voltage detector is operating satisfactorily

Zogs note: Must be rated for the CAT you are working in, usually CAT III for commericial or Industrial. Verify the meter works before and after, commonly called a live-dead-live test.

6.Where the possibility of induced voltages or stored electrical energy exists, ground the phase conductors or circuit parts before touching them. Where it could be reasonably anticipated that the conductors or circuit parts being deenergized could contact other exposed energized conductors or circuit parts, apply ground-connecting devices rated for the available fault duty.

Zogs note:
VFD's, MV cables, and PF caps are all common types of stored energy devices that are dangerous and overlooked. The ground need to be rated for the fault current available in the system, "logging chains" and other such devices are not permitted.

Until all these steps are completed the equipment is considered energized, so all the safe work practices and PPE requirements of the NFPA 70E apply until all steps are complete.

(edited to correct CAT rating in item #5) - Don 05/02/08
(editted formatting) - George 05/05/08
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Senior Member
FAQ - Test Equipment ratings

FAQ - Test Equipment ratings

The IEC 61010 is the new standard for low voltage “test, measurement and control equipment”. The IEC 61010 provides much improved protection against over voltage impulse transients (voltage spikes) and is the basis for:

• ANSI/ISA-S82.01-94 (US)
• CAN C22.2 No. 1010.1-92 (CAN)
• EN61010-1:1993 (EUR)

IEC 61010 defines four locations or categories:
  • CAT I - Protected electronic circuits
  • CAT II - Receptacle outlet circuit; plug-in loads.
  • CAT III - Distribution wiring, including “mains” bus, feeders and branch circuits; permanently installed loads.
  • CAT IV - “Origin of installation” Utility level and any outside cable run

The level and energy of voltage impulses is dependent on the location. The closer the location is to the power source, the higher the available fault current, the higher the category.

View attachment 1622

(edited formatting) - George 05/05/08
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Senior Member
George add to safety FAQ's please

George add to safety FAQ's please

I answer this question at least weekly, could you add it to the faqs?

Q: Where is the best place to buy PPE

A: After many people post a link to thier local FR clothing hawker.

First answer these questions.

What PPE do you need?
Daily wear or coveralls?
What climate?
Rent/lease or buy?
Laundering? Who will do it, who will ensure it is done right?
What HRC's are you exposed to? (Voltage has little to do with it)
Any chemical exposure? That determines your material choice.
How dirty will they get, industrial or home laundering?
Any clean room requirements?
Does Made in USA matter?
Does it need to be union made?
Does price matter or do you want the best regardless of price?

All these questions and more need to be considered to get the right PPE, there are about 20 different materials out there, all with advantages and disadvantages.

However, 90% of these guys selling the PPE have no idea about the performance of the materials or the other choices, they just sell what they buy, and usually that means Indura Ultra Soft, which is a good material for alot of people. Anyone can make coveralls or flash suits out of these fabrics (Indura is made in Chicago by Westex for example), the features and quality of the PPE you buy varies greatly from one place to the other so you better do your homework.


Senior Member
How to select a training provider

Ask for a resume for the instructor, what are his qualifications? What boards and commitees has he sat on regarding the topic? What professional papers has he published?

Ask for references and actually call some of them, most training managers will be happy to give you feedback on a class and trainer.

What is the work history of the trainer? Is he just reading a canned course or is he really an expert in the feild with real life experience?

Look at the company, and the courses they offer. A red flag is a company that provides CPR, ladder safety, forklift, and oh yeah, we do arc flash training too. Look for a company that also provides arc flash surverys, engineering studies and other power system services. You want a real expert.

Your training should fit your specific needs, an Electrical Contractor has very different training needs than a large manufacturing plant. There is no such thing as a one size fits all training course. I used to customize every class I did based on the clients needs.

If the trainer does not ask you questions about your existing ESWP's, arc flash syudy, PPE program and request a pre training meeting, thats another red flag. Unless it is an open enrollment course, which is usually not as effective as one at your facility made just for you.

Remmember your training is a much larger investment than the course fee, you are setting a culture in motion that will determine how you do everything, from your PPE program, to your hazard analysis method, to your disipline program for non-compliance.

One more thing, if someone says they offer a 70E "Certification" course, run.


Senior Member
Safety FAQs

George, want to add this to the FAQ's?

First off, there is no "expiration date" for hard hats. Manufactures put dates on them and recommend replacement after 2 years, but that is to sell more hard hats. However, OSHA does require you inspect your hard hat every day, that is hard to do if it is covered in stickers.

ANSI Z89 has the inspection requirements for hard hats, and if yours does not pass it should be replaced, wether it is 10 weeks or 10 years old. Here is a guide to inspectiing your hard hat.

Stickers, those are tough. Nothing in OSHA says you can't have stickers, however for electrical rated hard hats (Class E) you need to be careful on using them.( Some staes OSHA rules specifically ban stickers on Class E rated hard hats so check your states OSHA regulation if your state has them)

Here is OSHA's stance on stickers

So OSHA "punts" this to the manufactures. Here is what some common hard hat manufactures say about stickers

MSA Instructions

It is permissible to use pressure-sensitive stickers or tape with self-adhesive backing AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT closer than 1/2” from the helmet’s edge. MSA’s studies indicate that such stickers or tape in such locations will not affect burn-through (i.e. dielectric classification) or a MSA helmet’s structure. However, because it is impossible for MSA to test all pressure-sensitive adhesives, caution should still be taken when using such materials. Also, be sure that when stickers or tape are applied, they do not cover any helmet damage.

Bullard Instructions

The use of self-adhesive stickers by individual users to “personalize” their hard hats or for other marking or identification purposes is a common practice. Because of the type of adhesive used in typical pressure-sensitive stickers, there is very little potential for chemical interaction between the adhesive and the helmet shell, and their use would not be expected to negatively affect the performance of the helmet under normal conditions. Adhesive stickers should be placed at least ?” away from the edge of the helmet, and the area of the helmet covered in this way should be kept to a practical minimum to permit regular inspection of the helmet shell for signs of damage from use or aging.

North Safety Instructions

The use of self-adhesive stickers for identification purposes is a very common practice nowadays. There is very little or no interaction between the adhesive, on pressure sensitive stickers, and the shell of the hard hat because of the type of adhesive or glue used. Of course the use of adhesive stickers should always be kept to the minimum in order to permit regular inspections of the hat’s shell for any signs of damage from use and/or deterioration…

Fibre-Metal Instructions

Do not paint, imprint, apply decals or stickers without the written permission of North Safety Products. Paint can attack the shell and cause degradation and stickers can cover cracks or damage on the shell.

Sperian Instructions

Stickers and labels may be added to the hard hat shell, as long as none is over 0.5 inches from the bottom of the hard hat. Keep in mind that adding stickers and labels to a hard hat makes it much more difficult to inspect the shell for cracks and damage. Pay close attention to the areas around and under the labels or stickers. You may have to remove the suspension and carefully check the underside of the hard hat shell in order to properly inspect the site of the label or sticker. d. Painting the hard hat shell: Paint contains chemicals that will interfere with the performance and integrity of the hard hat shell. Do not, under any circumstances, paint the shell of a hard hat.
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