Your questions answered: An NFPA 70B and 70E Overview: Eliminate the Risk of Electrical Hazards and Avoid Expensive Shutdowns

The Oct. 25, 2017, “An NFPA 70B and 70E Overview: Eliminate the Risk of Electrical Hazards and Avoid Expensive Shutdowns” webcast presenter addressed questions not covered during the live event.


Bhanu Srilla, director of product marketing at Grace Engineered Products Inc.Facility shutdowns due to electrical equipment failures and catastrophic accidents that result from improper maintenance cost organizations millions of dollars in lost revenue, inventory, and injury-related worker compensation. The cost of production downtime alone can be irreplaceable. However, there is also the threat to life safety posed by arc flash occurrences, the potential for reputational damage, and the cost of replacement assemblies and parts to consider. The fear of electrical hazards not only cost organizations in economic loss, but also negatively impacts employee and workplace productivity. These can be catastrophic consequences, particularly in power critical environments, such as process plants, data centers, hospitals, and utilities.

This webcast focuses on the importance of electrical safety and maintenance programs, OSHA requirements, definitions for CFRs 1910.147 & 303 and 305, and guidance of NFPA 70E-2015: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace and 70B-2016: Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance. Topics of discussion include, risk control hierarchy, various methods to eliminate the risk or to mitigate at acceptable levels using safety-by-design engineering controls, technologies and trends in predictive maintenance tools, and the use of remote monitoring tools to proactively monitor the equipment condition that improves overall system reliability and avoid shutdowns.

Presenter Bhanu Srilla, director of product marketing at Grace Engineered Products Inc., responded to questions not answered during the live Eliminate the Risk of Electrical Hazards and Avoid Expensive Shutdowns webcast on Oct. 25, 2017.

Question: What are the common hazards?

Bhanu Srilla: Common hazards are electrical shock and arc flash related burns and injuries.

Q: What if you have no choice and you have to proceed with a shutdown on a critical branch feeding multiple panels downstream that will affect ER, urgent care, and an inpatient department?

Srilla: You have to ensure the critical feeder to ER and urgent care equipment panels are properly transitioned to a backup power system before performing maintenance.

Q: Why would someone choose continuous temperature monitoring over thermography?

Srilla: Continuous temperature monitoring provides data points for predictive monitoring over intermittent infrared (IR) inspections.

Q: Is a low-voltage loose connection a safety issue?

Srilla: Yes, low-voltage loose connections are a bigger safety issue compared to medium- and high-voltage systems as the personnel tend to interfere more frequently with the low-voltage systems on regular maintenance activities.

Q: Why is electrical maintenance a big part of electrical safety?

Srilla: With properly maintained equipment, facilities can greatly benefit in reducing the workplace hazards, downtime, and enhance the productivity metrics while increasing the life of the equipment.

Q: How do you identify critical equipment when developing electrical maintenance programs?

Srilla: All key stakeholders must be involved in identifying the criticality of the equipment. Some of the key people to include in the conversation are the maintenance workers, production supervisors, machine operators, and other safety groups including management functions who have vested interest in overall productivity and operation metrics.

Q: Does OSHA enforce NFPA 70E and 70B standards? And, what’s the link between the three?

Srilla: No, OSHA doesn’t enforce NFPA 70E or 70B standards. However, OSHA will recognize NFPA standards as acceptable means while enforcing the CFRs.

Q: Please note that the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E now has a 6th requirement for Article 130.1(A)(4): Normal Operation.

Srilla: The presentation was not updated with the NFPA 70E 2018 requirements. Yes, we understand the following additional requirement has been added to the Article 130.2. (4).(3) The equipment is used in accordance with instructions Included in the listing and labeling and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Q: Your presentation is out of date. NFPA 70E -2018 was effective August 21, 2017, and supersedes all previous editions (including the one you were referencing). Several of your NFPA 70E references in the presentation are not all valid now.

Srilla: Yes, the presentation is not updated with the NFPA 70E-2018 requirements.

Q: The NFPA 70B reference slide has an error. Last bullet Section “Section 9 and table 10.18 of the ANSI/NETA/MTS, Standard for Maintenance Testing Specifications for…” reference is not correct if referring to 2016 edition.

Srilla: The section referenced was It was a typo.

Q: Can you address reliability centered maintenance (RCM) as it relates to electrical maintenance? Is it in agreement with 70B requirements? If not, where does it deviate?

Srilla: RCM is identified in Section of 70B-2016 and called out in detail in Chapter 30 and informational Annex N.

Q: Does NFPA 70 require IR frequency as quarterly? Most people with whom I am familiar have an annual program.

Srilla: Routine inspections are to be performed on annual basis. However, frequent inspections, for example, on quarterly or semiannually when warranted by loss experience or any other changes to the equipment or operation conditions. Refer to NFPA 70B-2016 standard section for detailed information.

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