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National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E 2009 Updates & 2012 Edition

Few topics in the safety training world generate as much confusion and emotion from trainers and trainees as the arc flash protection requirements of NFPA 70E. I personally have found myself in a room full of engaged participants as they learn the requirements of NFPA 70E, often for the first time.  I remember the "buzz" that was created from the 2009 update.  Safety Professionals were told OSHA would increase inspections/citations regarding NFPA 70E, so the requests for program development, implementation, and training began to rise dramatically. NFPA 70E has seen eight (8) updates since 1979 with the 9th update planned for 2012.

The following is a summary of the Report on Proposals for NFPA 70E.  You can download a copy of this report (244 pages) for free and/or purchase the NFPA Standards by visiting

  • Addition of the word "inspection".  This requires protective measures for inspection duties along with installation, demolition, operations, and maintenance.
  • Arc Rated (AR) will replace the term Flame Resistant (FR).  Not all FR clothing has been tested for electrical arcs.
  • Retraining shall be provided at least every three years.
  • A new section that defines excavation work.
  • Tables that clarify AC & DC systems.
  • Revisions to the current equipment labeling requirements and specific requirements for the labels themselves.
  • Hearing protection requirements.
  • Adding an Arc Flash Boundary to an existing table.
  • Additional PPE requirements (i.e., a sock hood when working in a Hazard/Risk Category 2 area.)

While writing this blog, an internet search produced multiple articles on NFPA 70E, the 2009 update, and the proposed update for the 2012.  For more information about NFPA 70E visit the MEMIC Safety Director.

Have a great 2012!


Posted by Eric Grant