NFPA 70E provides the added information and guidelines that if followed will help organizations achieve compliance with what is required as part of the OSHA 1910 Subpart S regulations. NFPA 70E provides detailed information for how to determine the degree of the electrical hazard (arc flash and shock) and the means and methods to utilize to protect your employees from those hazards. In order to be in compliance with the OSHA 1910 Subpart S regulations; determinations must be made as to safe work distances as well as proper PPE and tools required if persons are going to work live inside panels.
1910.335(a)(1)(i) Employees working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards shall be provided with, and shall use, electrical protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific parts of the body to be protected and for the work to be performed.
1910.335(a)(1)(v) Employees shall wear protective equipment for the eyes or face wherever there is danger of injury to the eyes or face from electric arcs or flashes or from flying objects resulting from electrical explosion.
A determination must be made as to the PPE and other protections that would be appropriate per the work task, distance from the panel, and the specific hazard the person is being exposed to. An Arc Flash Hazard Analysis in conjunction with a Shock Hazard Analysis performed by following NFPA 70E and IEEE 1584 guidelines provides this determination.
WE DON’T WORK ENERGIZED…It is important to consider that until the disconnect has been opened, voltage test performed to confirm zero volts, and lockout lock is attached; the system is still considered a live system within the OSHA/NFPA regulations and therefore proper tools and PPE must be utilized throughout this process. So even if your facility does not do any physical work inside of electrical panels until the system is de-energized, the process of troubleshooting, voltage checks, amp draws, etc. does expose your personnel to arc flash and shock hazards and therefore the level of the hazard needs to be determined so proper protection strategies can be implemented.
Safe work boundaries, personal protective equipment and tools specifications, employee training, permits, panel labeling, one-line development, and electrical system improvement recommendations, are only a few of the items that are addressed as part of this effort.