Most Common Questions about NFPA 70E

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has authored the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace (NFPA 70E). Following are some answers to common questions for becoming compliant with the standard.

What labeling of electrical panels is required and where do I find the standard that references it?

Per NFPA 70E, 130.5 (C) p. 26,” Electrical equipment such as
switchboards, panelboards, industrial control panels, meter socket
enclosures, and motor control centers that are in other than dwelling
units, and are likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or
maintenance while energized, shall be field marked with a label
containing all the following information:

  1. At least one of the following:
    • Available incident energy and the corresponding working distance
    • Minimum arc rating of clothing
    • Required level of PPE
    • Highest Hazard/Risk Category (HRC) for the equipment
  2. Nominal system voltage
  3. Arc flash boundary

Do utility companies have to be compliant to NESC 410A3 by January 2009?


Does the training needed to be completed on a regular basis, i.e. yearly?

Retraining shall be performed at intervals not to exceed 3 years.

Can the hazard assessment be completed by in-house electricians, or
does it need to be completed by certified company? If it can be
completed in-house, how do we go about completing the assessment

The hazard assessment can be completed in-house. If your company
chooses that route, you can reference Annex D in the NFPA 70E
standard to help guide you through the process (p. 63). However, many
companies choose to outsource part or all the assessment due to the
associated liability as well as the need for specialized expertise in
this area.

If you have an employee that turns on the breakers in a panel for the
lights, does he/she have to wear all the proper PPE (ie hardhat with
shield, gloves, FR clothing, composite shoes, and gloves)?

No. General employees (i.e. production employees, supervisors, office
personnel, etc,) can turn on/off breakers for the lights and they can
activate the switch on a safety disconnect without putting on the arc
flash PPE
. These electrical enclosures are referred to by the NFPA 70E
as “dead front enclosures” which essentially means that the
employee is not being exposed to live conductors (fuses, wires, etc.).

Do company or name emblems affect the integrity of an ARC Garment

Per ASTM F1506, “Logos, name tags, and other badges, such as flag
patches and company award insignias, are used to identify the
organization and individual. If these items are constructed of non-flame
resistant materials (such as polyester or rayon), their overall area
should be minimized on the garment”.

Has OSHA adopted this, is this an OSHA requirement?

While NFPA 70E is not a law, OSHA requires all companies to comply with 1910.132 (Job Safety Analysis for PPE Selection). In order to accurately
select the proper PPE for electrical/maintenance employees relative to
the known hazards of electric shock and arc flash, OSHA inspectors
commonly recommend 70E as the road map for how to properly protect
against those hazards.

See All Articles