Over the past 15 years, industry awareness standards regarding safe work practice requirements contained in NFPA 70E®, Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, has increased significantly along with adherence to those requirements. There are a number of reasons for this trend in electrical safety. The electrical industry has strongly supported safety requirements. One reason is the expansion of the hazards covered in NFPA to address both shock and arc-flash hazards, and proactive initiatives on preventing electrical accidents undertaken by federal and state occupational safety regulators.
NFPA has supported this demand for information through the development of “support products” such as the NFPA 70E Handbook, alliances with industry partners such as IEEE and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and through the creation of safety training programs.
This emphasis on training starts with the employer/ employee relationship established in NFPA 70E guidelines. The employer is responsible for establishing an electrically safe environment through implementing an electrical safety program.
The certifications highlight the importance of the relationship between employees and their supervisors in effecting the electrical safety program. Employees perform tasks that are assigned to them by their supervisors, who may be plant managers, safety managers, facility or company owners, or other people who have direct oversight of employees performing tasks that may expose them to electrical hazards. Offering certifications for individuals at both the supervisor and employee levels bridges the understanding and implementation of NFPA 70E across an organization and promotes a solid employer/employee relationship that is a fundamental element of an effective electrical safety program.
These certifications can be used by employers and employees as a standard that indicates a working knowledge of NFPA 70E and the safe work practice that is required. Implementing these safe work practices will positively impact electrical safety in the workplace and also negate accidents, law suits and ultimately even prevent a catastrophic event.