Regulatory Agencies

There are thousands of standards, regulations, specifications and guidelines developed by many dedicated people through various organizations to promote electrical safety including:

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)* to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

As a result, established the standards for electrical safe work practices as specified in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.331-.335 (Subpart S).

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)

The NFPA is the worldwide leader and provider of standards regarding fire, electrical, building, and life safety. Since 1976, National Fire Protection Association has worked with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to prepare standards to support the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

The NFPA publishes two widely followed standards, the NFPA 70®, known as the National Electrical Code® (NEC®). And the second, the NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces®, which was first published in 1979, and is revised— then republished every three years with the current issue, NFPA 70E 2015 Edition.

 

Though OSHA does not, per se, enforce NFPA 70E Standard, OSHA considers the NFPA Standard a recognized industry practice.

NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the U.S. federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations to prevent worker injury and illness. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 established NIOSH. NIOSH partners with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA is part of the U.S. Department of Labor, and it develops and enforces workplace safety and health regulations. NIOSH is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It has the mandate of helping to assure "every man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources." NIOSH records and tracks electrical and arc flash related incidents.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute)

ANSI is a non-government, not-for-profit organization which facilitates the creating, conformity and use of voluntary consensus standards use in numerous business sectors to help insure the safety and health of workers and consumers. The U.S. government has authorized ANSI with the authorization to identity American Nation Standards, however does not write the standards.

One such standard is the ANSI Z535 Safety Alerting Standards which is composed of six sub-standards including the Z535.4, Product Safety Signs and Labels that provides guidelines for the design and uniformity of safety signs and labels for arc flash applications. ANSI also provides standards for PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) used for arc flash.

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc.)

The largest association of electrical, electronic engineering, telecommunications and computer science and information engineering professionals. It is a non-profit, non-government organization dedicated to providing standards for scientific and education purposes.

Publishes the IEEE Standard 1584, Guide for Performing Arc Flash Hazard Calculations, a calculation method providing definitive steps to support the NFPA 70E as well as case histories and analysis information.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

Currently referred to as the ASTM International, this organization is a global leader in developing and delivery of voluntary, consensus-based standards. They provide test methods, specifications and guidance in improving product quality and safety. They have provided many standards used for the testing and analysis of the textiles used in Personal Protective Equipment adopted by ANSI.

One of the standards used to ensure worker safety is ASTM F1506: Standard Performance Specification for Flame Resistant and Arc Rated Textile Materials for Wearing Apparel for Use by Electrical Workers Exposed to Momentary Electric Arc and Related Thermal Hazards.

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Figure 1: A Worker Engulfed by Arc Flash-Blast