by , on November 13, 2018
red background with burning question

Is changing light bulbs considered electrical work per NFPA 70E?

Is it necessary to de-energize and LOTO?  I would think, with the new focus in NFPA on hierarchy of risk control, the answer would be yes.  But I’m getting a lot of push back on this.

You are correct on changing light bulbs.

Per the NFPA standard, either turn it off using proper LO/TO/V (lockout/tagout/verify) or get an energized work permit.

Remember shock hazard at even 120V can be fatal. A friend of mine and electrician at my old plant was doing exactly that – changing 480V lights and had his gloves. However, he chose not to keep his gloves on, and he got shocked bad enough to knock him out for several minutes. He recovered, but needless to say he will never again do energized work without rubber insulating gloves. Five days after his incident, he was still having trouble moving his upper body as a result of the muscle soreness from the shock. He was a very lucky man.

I know push back on something this simple is significant. Remind them that .4 AMPs is all it takes to lock up your heart. If they feel that strongly about it, make them get an energized work permit.

More information on electrical work permits can be found at this blog, When is an Electrical Work Permit NOT Required in NFPA 70E? 4 Exemptions.

Have a question about electrical safety and standards? Ask us here OR on our forum!


Doug Black
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1 Comment on "Is Changing Light Bulbs Electrical Work?"

Steven Richardson - 4 December 2018 Reply

Thanks, Doug. Never thought about it... Steve

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