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How to properly label your electrical equipment to comply with 2021 NFPA 70E
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) details how to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) regulation, 29 CFR 1910.333(a), through the NFPA 70E standard. Applying these electrical safety standards in the workplace protects workers who may be exposed to arc flash or other electrical hazards.
According to the NFPA 70E standard, there are six primary responsibilities that facilities must meet. These responsibilities include:
Arc flash labeling is the responsibility of the employer, not the manufacturer or installer of the equipment. Employees are responsible for complying with safety-related work practices and procedures provided by the employer.
According to NFPA 70E, labeling is required for any piece of electrical equipment that may need examination, adjustment, service or maintenance while energized. These labels communicate the electrical hazards an employee may be exposed to, including the potential for an arc flash incident.
Label where un-terminated wires or cables needing superior abrasion and chemical resistance exist.
Label where terminated or unterminated cables and wires that may be curved or become curved exist.
Label where terminated cables or wires that may need additional abrasion or chemical resistance exist.
Label where large amounts of data needs to be communicated in a small area, such as fiber optic cables.
Label where large amounts of voltage exist, either on the ground or mounted up high in a facility.
Label where multi-conductor cables or bundled wires/cables exist.
Old Label Versions. The recent update allows labels applied prior to the effective date of this edition of the standard to be acceptable if they complied with the requirements for equipment labeling in the standard in effect at the time the labels were applied (unless changes in electrical distribution system render the label inaccurate).
Document and Review. Document the method of calculating and the data to support the information for the label and review for accuracy at intervals not to exceed 5 years. Where the review of the data identifies a change that renders the label inaccurate, the label shall be updated.
The owner of the electrical equipment shall be responsible for the documentation, installation and maintenance of the marked label.Shop Brady’s Arc Flash Labels
Use our arc flash program checklist tool to quickly identify your needs
Now that you’re familiar with the equipment that needs labeling, here are the elements you will need to include in your arc flash labels.
A common guideline is to use the "Danger" header when the voltage is over 600 or when the incident energy is over 40 cal/cm2. If it is less than this threshold, an orange "Warning" header is typically used.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) defines this as “the dimension between the possible arc point and the head and body of the worker positioned in place to perform the assigned task.”
A measurement in calories/cm2 or Joules/cm2 of thermal energy at a working distance from an arc fault.
This is the shortest distance at which a person working at the time of an arc-flash may receive permanent injury (the onset of a second degree burn or worse) if not properly protected by flame-resistant (FR) clothing.
Each hazard risk category requires a different level of protection. Categories range from 1 to 4. Category “0” was removed in the NFPA 70E 2015 Changes.
These boundaries are defined in more detail in our Arc Flash Workplace Safety Guide. The “prohibited approach” boundary was removed in the 2015 NFPA 70E edition.
The voltage of the equipment.
Retraining should occur every 3 years, and employees must also be retrained if their job duties change, or when procedures are not being followed (as observed by annual inspections or supervision).
Training should include:
Training sessions must be documented and verified at least annually, and participants must be able to demonstrate knowledge. To help keep your workplace safe and compliant, Brady Safety offers a custom approach to Arc Flash Training.
The standard gets updated every three years. Here’s what’s new in 2021.
The NFPA 70E standard was updated for 2021, including adding detail to term definitions, clarifying requirements and reorganizing information for a more logical progression. The most notable changes are:
Past NFPA 70E Updates: 2018 | 2015
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The NFPA 70E gets updated every three years. See what was new in 2018.Learn More