Make a Difference
Here’s your chance to help create the next edition of NFPA 70E.
NFPA Journal®, November/December 2009
The word "opportunity" is omnipresent these days, perhaps to the point of being overused. Business opportunities, career opportunities, personal opportunities—a day doesn’t go by that you aren’t presented with some type of opportunity, some good, some not so.
One good opportunity is currently available to those of you affected by NFPA 70E®: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®. The NFPA membership will vote on the 2012 edition of the standard at the NFPA Conference & Expo® in June 2011, and the NFPA Standards Council is scheduled to issue it in August 2011. However, a lot occurs in the revision process before these final steps.
As is the case with all NFPA codes and standards, the revision process for the next edition of NFPA 70E began when it was entered into the Annual 2011 document cycle. This initial step may seem academic, as it is simply a communication from the staff liaison to the secretary of the Standards Council seeking the council’s approval of the proposed document revision cycle. But it is important to users of the standard because it establishes the revision schedule and sets dates for the rest of the steps in the process. Users of the standard have until January 5, 2010, to submit proposals recommending new, revised, or deleted requirements and provisions for the next edition of NFPA 70E.
The members of the Technical Committee on Electrical Safety in the Workplace, all dedicated volunteers who strongly support the standard’s safety mission, do the heavy lifting as the document makes its way through the revision cycle. As staff liaison to the technical committee, I work with them to facilitate the revision process and provide technical advisory service on the standard, allowing users of NFPA 70E to speak with, e-mail, or otherwise communicate to me their questions on applying the standard’s requirements. Through this communication, I have heard numerous thoughtful suggestions on how NFPA 70E can become even more useful in achieving its safety mission.
Since many in the large community of NFPA 70E users don’t necessarily understand how changes occur in the NFPA codes and standards system, I also explain the role of NFPA’s staff in the development system and encourage members to initiate possible revisions in the standard by submitting proposals.
The form for submitting a proposal can be downloaded at www.nfpa.org/assets/files/PDF/CodesStandards/NFPAProposalForm.doc and submitted online, via fax, or by regular mail. It is important to not only craft your proposed revision or addition in clear, understandable language, but to substantiate technically why the revision is necessary. It is the technical justification that sells the concept to the committee as it reviews and acts on each proposal.
A compilation of the actions the committee has taken on the proposals, known as the Report on Proposals, will be available for public review as a free PDF download or hard copy in late June 2010. This document lets you review the disposition of every proposal submitted. A preliminary draft of the 2012 edition, based on these proposal actions, will also be available at this time.
The 2009 edition elicited an unprecedented number of proposals and comments for NFPA 70E, reflecting the meteoric rise in awareness of electrical safety issues in recent years. Participation by NFPA 70E users in the public submission portion of the process is the backbone of the document and one of the primary reasons it is so widely accepted and used.
The opportunity to submit proposals on NFPA 70E is a great chance for you to make a difference. Don’t miss it.
Jeffrey Sargent is NFPA’s senior electrical specialist and is staff liaison for NFPA 70E.