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NFPA 70E 2012 Updates

Editor’s Note: At the time of this article’s publication, NFPA 70E 2012 was the most current edition.  See “What is NFPA 70E?” for more information.
The 2012 “NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace,” made several changes from the now outdated 2009 edition. Below is a general overview of the major changes that affect personal protective equipment (PPE).  All editor’s notes will be italicized.
General changes:
  • Arc rated is now the acceptable way to refer to PPE as FR is a very generic term . “Arc rated” refers to the performance of material when exposed to an electric arc. Arc rated material is flame resistant, but flame resistant material may not be arc rated.
  • Garments that are not arc rated shall not be permitted to be used to increase the arc rating of a garment or of a clothing system.
 Article 130.7 changes and revisions:
  • 130.7(C)(5)”Hearing Protection. Employees shall wear hearing protection whenever working within the arc flash boundary.” Hearing protection was previously required, but was not specifically addressed beyond the PPE tables.
  • 130.7(C)(10)(b)(1) “An arc-rated balaclava shall be used with an arc-rated face shield when the back of the head is within the arc flash boundary. An arc-rated hood shall be permitted to be used instead of an arc-rated face shield and balaclava.” This clarifies the requirements for head protection and allows for a balaclava/goggle combination.  
  • 130.7(C)(10)(b)(2)”An arc-rated hood shall be used when the anticipated incident energy exposure exceeds 12 cal/cm².”This newly worded addition clarifies when an arc rated hood is mandatory.
  • 130.7(C)(10)(c) The balaclava in NFPA 70E 2012 is now described as follows:” Face shields with a wrap-around guarding to protect the face, chin, forehead, ears, and neck area shall be used.”
  • 130.7(C)(10)(d)(1)”Heavy-duty leather gloves or arc-rated gloves shall be worn where required for arc flash protection. Informational Note: Heavy-duty leather gloves are made entirely of leather with minimum thickness of 0.03 in. (0.7mm), are unlined or lined with nonflammable, non-melting fabrics. Heavy-duty leather gloves meeting this requirement have been shown to have ATPV values in excess of 10 cal/cm².”The information note defines what qualifies as heavy-duty leather gloves.
Remember, this article only highlights a few of the revisions/additions to NFPA 70E 2012. To read about all changes and ensure you are in full compliance, pick up your revised copy today.
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