by , on November 29, 2011

NSC covering NFPA 70E shows how mainstream arc flash and even electrical safety have gone.  It is a wonderful change from 17 years ago when we were fighting to bring arc flash standards for testing in ASTM F18. At that time NFPA 70E didn’t even mention arc flash as an electrical hazard.

The 1995 change to NFPA 70E to introduce the “arc flash boundary” was the beginning for NFPA 70E but this really all began in two different veins.  Ralph Lee wrote his 1982 paper on a theoretical beginning of arc flash.  Though the physics were wrong (thanks Dr. David Sweeting of Australia for tutelage on this), the idea was right.  Arc flash was being ignored. Ralph brought to our conciousness the idea and Dr. Tom Neal of DuPont became one of the early evangelists along with Allen Bingham (formerly of GA Power) and myself (formerly with LG&E Energy).  Others like Bill Mattiford took up the torch (through his utility PECO and EEI) and Jim Tomaseski, Palmer Hickman and Jim Dollard representing IBEW continued this union’s focus on safety and building the electrical industry in general.  NSC rightly points out that Appendix P is new to the standard though the idea has been in since 2009 of using the ANSI Z10 standard to tie continuious improvement processes to electrical safety.  This was the brainchild of Lanny Floyd and Danny Liggett of DuPont among others.  It is probably the most ignored part of the standard.  Hopefully we can get better.

Click here to read the article NFPA 70E “Staying Current” from Safety & Health Magazine.

Hugh Hoagland
About author:
Hugh Hoagland is the foremost tester of clothing and PPE exposed to electrical arcs and is an arc flash expert. Read more about Hugh.

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