Topic: Industrial Hazards

Preparing Chemical Facilities for Hurricane Season

Recently, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board issued a call to chemical facilities to prepare for a harsh hurricane season based on an “above average” outlook on hurricane activity from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This year, NOAA has stated that there’s a 30 percent chance of an above-average-intensity hurricane season. NOAA’s predictions also estimate a range of 12 to 17 total named storms this season. NOAA gave its predictions a 70 percent confidence rating.  Just last week, Hurricane Idalia collided with the Gulf Coast of Florida, where the storm is estimated to have caused $12 to $20 billion in damage and lost economic activity, according to CBS News. Chemical facilities pose a special risk Hurricanes can cause significant damage to chemical facilities, in particular, and potentially lead to environmental and safety hazards. Chemical plants are complex facilities that often handle hazardous materials and if not properly managed during a hurricane can pose serious risks to the people working at the facility and nearby communities. There have been many fire and explosion incidents over the years due to lack of preparedness during hurricanes. One, for example, was the Arkema, Inc. chemical plant fire in Texas in 2017, during which a hurricane disabled the facility’s refrigeration system and water flooded the equipment and caused the stored chemicals to burn. Another incident occurred at Bio-Lab’s Lake Charles facility in Louisiana in 2020 after water from a hurricane came into contact with chemicals stored inside the facility, causing a chemical reaction which initiated a fire. NFPA offers solutions There are plans that can be put into place that cover what can be done to reduce the possible impact of hurricane damage causing fire or explosions. One of the plans that can be used is NFPA 1660, Standard for Emergency, Continuity, and Crisis Management: Preparedness, Response and Recovery, which provides guidelines for creating, implementing, assessing, and maintaining effective disaster/emergency management and business continuity programs. It covers a wide range of topics related to disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation, as well as continuity planning to ensure the continued operation of organizations in the face of disruptions.    RELATED: Read a blog about bringing electrical systems back online after major storms   NFPA 1660 emphasizes a comprehensive approach to emergency management and continuity planning, encompassing various aspects such as risk assessments, planning, communication, training, and ongoing improvement. More specifically, NFPA 1660 addresses hurricanes in multiple chapters in Annex A, along with multiple chapters advising incident pre-planning processes. Preparation for natural disasters often goes beyond evacuating the plant and may even require additional isolation and containment measures. Some facilities may be required to have an emergency action plan from NFPA 1, Fire Code, or NFPA 101, Life Safety Code. Those plans should address hazards that are normally outside of the scope of the Code to the extent practicable. Other NFPA codes and standards that address hurricanes are NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems, NFPA 1250, Recommend Practice in Fire and Emergency Service Organization Risk Management, and NFPA 59A, Standard for the Production, Storage, and Handling of Liquefied Natural Gas, just to name a few. Utilizing any of the NFPA codes and standards that address hurricane hazards can help to create a framework for developing emergency management and business continuity plans. Overall, the interaction between hurricanes and chemical plants underscores the importance of comprehensive disaster preparedness and response plans. These plans should be regularly reviewed, updated, and tested to ensure that the facilities can effectively manage the risks associated with hurricanes and minimize their potential impact on both human safety and the environment.

NFPA Webinar, Other Resources Aim to Help Professionals Gather Knowledge to Improve Electrical Safety in the Workplace

Electrical safety was at the forefront of conversations at last week’s NFPA Conference & Expo® in Las Vegas, Nevada. There were great sessions on topics such as preventing electrical fatalities and meeting OSHA’s electrical safety requirements in the workplace. We also heard an extremely moving presentation from electrical arc flash survivor Brandon Schroeder on how a devastating arc flash incident changed his life, as well as the lives of his wife and children.   RELATED: Read more about how electrical safety was featured at C&E While the passion around electrical safety was shared by both electrical session speakers and attendees, we all left with one takeaway as well: We must all continue to grow and share our knowledge with others in order to move the needle on electrical safety in a positive direction.   As an initial effort, NFPA® has recently taken a couple of steps to share more information around electrical safety with those who are interested. Having a well-designed, functional, and usable electrical safety program (ESP) is a key component for keeping the workplace free of electrical safety incidents. NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, requires that all employers implement and document an overall ESP that directs activity appropriate to the risk associated with electrical hazards. While ESPs should be tailored to the individual needs of the specific company and the risks associated with their line of business, there are some key components that NFPA 70E requires to be addressed and considered, including: ·      Awareness and safety planning ·      Principles ·      Procedures ·      Lockout/tagout ·      Inspections and equipment condition ·      ESP evaluation   Recently, NFPA put together a free, downloadable fact sheet that discusses these key ESP components more in depth and also provides information on safety program controls. This includes information on training qualified persons, as well as identifying and eliminating electrical hazards.   In addition to the new ESP fact sheet, NFPA has also opened registration for a webinar on Tuesday, July 11, titled “How to Enhance Workplace Electrical Safety at Your Company.” This free webinar will provide more insight on how to positively impact electrical safety within your facility or on the jobsite. Daniel Majano, with Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), will be sharing the latest electrical fatality data and discussing what the numbers tell us and how we can look to improve them. Attendees will also hear the story of arc flash survivor Don Johnson and his wife, Kelly, about how Don thinking, “I know what I am doing, this isn’t going to happen to me” as an electrical professional resulted in a two-month coma, two years of rehabilitation and recovery, and “putting everybody’s life on hold.” Lastly, Ryan Grimes, senior engineering manager at Toyota North America, will share how Toyota has focused on electrical safety and the steps the company continually takes in order to achieve optimal results.   I will be one of the presenters of the webinar as well, and we will highlight the critical concept of the Electrical Cycle of Safety, which stresses the importance of using NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), NFPA 70B, Standard for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, and NFPA 70E® in conjunction with one another in order to produce the best possible results in workplace electrical safety.   For management and employees alike, continually growing knowledge around electrical safety is one of the best ways of actually achieving it. Even those knowledgeable in the area, such as electrical safety trainers, must remain up to date on changes of requirements and safe work practices for mitigating electrical safety hazards. By taking just one hour of your valuable time to attend this webinar, we hope to help you, your company, and your employees create a safer work environment. I look forward to seeing you there!     Visit the Electrical Safety Solutions for the Workplace webpage from NFPA to see more ways in which NFPA can help you to achieve electrical safety ion the workplace.

Electrical Safety an Important Focus at NFPA Conference & Expo

For professionals who use the NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code®, and NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, on a regular basis, you know the importance both play when it comes to the installation of safe electrical systems and the safety of workers. But did you know that NFPA 70B, Standard for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, also plays a key role in creating a safe working environment? That was the focus of an early morning session today at the NFPA Conference & Expo® here in Las Vegas. David Weszely and Jay Smith of the SEAM Group, a global leader in energized asset performance, said while changes to the latest edition of 70E are few, 70B is “new,” as it recently transitioned from a recommended practice to a standard, meaning it can now be both utilized and enforced in facilities. According to Weszely, “As a standard, it means that the condition of maintenance for electrical equipment is recognized as a hazard. That’s important. If equipment is not maintained, you’re going to have equipment failure and people are going to get hurt. You start to see how everything is connected.” NFPA commonly refers to the grouping of the NEC, 70E, and 70B, as “the cycle of safety.” NFPA senior electrical content specialist, Corey Hannahs, explains it this way in a blog: “While each piece of the cycle covers a specific area, they must be used in unison in order to provide the safest electrical system possible, being installed in the safest manner. NFPA 70B deals with electrical equipment maintenance, NFPA 70 stipulates the installation rules that are necessary for a proper installation, and NFPA 70E provides the safe work practices necessary to ensure that the installation and maintenance is done safely by the individuals performing the work. When the three are used simultaneously, and correctly, they provide for a complete electrical safety cycle. When one or more pieces are missing, it leaves the door open for catastrophic accidents—even death.” During the hour-long session, Smith and Weszely touched on several topics related to workplace safety, including regulations set forth by OSHA, arc flash assessments, preventive maintenance, infrared inspections, and lockout/tagout procedures. Both Weszely and Smith maintain that it takes everyone working together to create a safe working environment. Whether you’re a technician, operations leader, maintenance or safety professional, the health and safety of workers is everyone’s responsibility, regardless of your role. And training, they say, is the key to getting us all there. While this particular session has now ended, the discussions around electrical safety are continuing. At this year’s Conference & Expo, we’ve put together an informative lineup of sessions and events that delve into a wide range of topics related to electrical safety. This morning, Brandon Schroeder’s powerful session, “Believe in Safety: An Arc Flash Survivor’s Perspective” held the audience captive. Brandon has been a regular guest at our Conference. His personal story of surviving an arc flash explosion while on the job in 2011 is one that all electrical professionals should hear. With passion for the importance of investing in and believing in safety, Brandon started his own company dedicated to sharing the message of electrical workplace safety to hundreds of professionals and organizations across the country every year. As electrical professionals, working safely allows you to return home unharmed after every shift. It’s up to everyone to apply the knowledge we’ve learned to our everyday tasks and to share this knowledge with others. At 2 p.m. PT today in Lagoon GH, join colleagues to learn more about OSHA’s electrical safety requirements in the workplace. If you manage a team, this session will explain how your company can help provide an electrical risk-free workplace for everyone involved in a project. Looking to network with other electrical safety specialists? You’ll want to visit the Electrical Safety Pavilion located on the Expo floor adjacent to the Service Center area. Here you can meet with industry colleagues, check out products, and talk to other companies interested in electrical safety. But the conversation doesn’t finish at C&E. On July 11, join NFPA for a special “How to Enhance Workplace Electrical Safety at Your Company” webinar that will take a closer look at the latest statistics on electrical injuries and deaths in the workplace, and include a discussion about why investing both time and money into safety training for employees is critical. Following the one-hour webinar, which starts at 1 p.m. EST, participants can take advantage of the number of NFPA resources and free information available. Register now and join us for this important conversation.   With so much at stake, it’s important that electrical professionals get the information, training, and resources they need to do their job well and with safety top of mind. Visit the C&E website or your NFPA C&E app to find more electrical safety-related sessions and events tailored for both your professional and individual needs. 

A Better Understanding of NFPA 70E: Part II – Be Vigilant When You Work in These Locations

Investigating several aspects of electrical fatalities can help employers move toward further decreasing them. The first thing being investigated in this series is where these fatalities occur. It is common for all employees to interact with electrical equipment during their workday, but it should be uncommon for an employee to be exposed to electrical hazards. However, fatalities have occurred at most work locations. The chart below shows the percentage of electrical fatalities by the workplace location, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. Unlike other BLS categories, there should not be much overlap when it comes to the location of a fatality, but there is some. I did not separate them out. I could not find a BLS definition of home as a workplace, but I expect that it includes trades that go to a home to conduct work (HVAC, plumbing, roofing, painting, groundskeeping, etc.) as well as a person working from home. Surprisingly, a home accounts for the most fatalities due to exposure to electricity (32%). An industrial facility is second at 29%. Even though the number of employees working from home increased from 19% in 2019 to 39% in 2020, this does not appear to have skewed the numbers. For example, home as a workplace accounted for 28% of workplace exposure to electricity fatalities in 2011. Home improvement, remodeling, repair, and landscaping businesses are often underregulated. In addition, small companies may be exempt from some OSHA regulations. These could be contributing factors for these home fatalities. These fatalities might also be due to many trades incorrectly considering a home to not be a workplace covered by NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, or considering household voltage to not be an electrical hazard. RELATED: Register for a July 11 webinar from NFPA® on enhancing electrical safety in the workplace With all construction occupations accounting for 48% of electrical fatalities, I expected residential (10%) and non-residential construction sites (12%)—road construction being an example of another type of construction site—to account for the most fatalities on this chart. Combined, these two account for 22% of all electrical fatalities which makes them third for fatalities. The fourth location, streets and highways, was also unexpected. The fatalities (11%) are on par with non-residential construction sites (12%). Public buildings account for 9% of fatalities. Factories and farms are both slightly over 7% of electrical fatalities. Less than 1% of these fatalities occurred in office buildings. I don’t post these blogs just provide you something to read. These blogs are so that you can adjust the way you think and work. Make sure that you are aware of the electrical hazards when working at any location. Take the steps required in NFPA 70E and your company’s electrical safety program to protect yourself from becoming a fatality. Do not let your guard down if you work at a home for any reason. That nearly one-third of exposure to electricity fatalities occur while working at a home is probably as big of a surprise to you as it was to me.

The World of the Fire Protection Handbook Comes to the NFPA Conference & Expo

As you may have heard, NFPA has released the 21st edition of its flagship publication, the Fire Protection Handbook (FPH). It’s been 15 years since NFPA has released a new edition and the response has been positively overwhelming. Dubbed the most comprehensive, one-of-a-kind guide for fire and life safety students and professionals, the guide features content reflecting the very latest fire protection and fire safety information, research and data, emerging technologies, and safety practices. Since 1896, the FPH (previously called the Handbook of the Underwriter’s Bureau of New England) has been supporting practitioners as they advance in their careers, providing them with the answers they need to their fire protection questions. If you want to learn more about the handbook or are thinking about purchasing this latest edition for yourself or your office, library, or department, you won’t want to miss a special NFPA Conference & Expo® session happening today (Tuesday) at 11 a.m. in Oceanside D. During the session, Kristin Bigda, NFPA publications strategy director, and Jonathan Hart, NFPA technical lead for Engineering Technical Services, will take your questions and talk about how the world of fire protection has changed in the nearly two decades since the last edition of the FPH was published, and how this evolution is reflected in the many chapters of the 21st edition of the handbook. Interested in real world application? They’ll also provide examples of how the FPH is helping professionals everywhere grow their confidence and understanding of fire safety practices in our ever-changing workplace environment. Did you know that the handbook also forms the required body of knowledge for candidates pursuing the NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS) exam? The CFPS is internationally recognized as the gold standard in certification for fire protection professionals to demonstrate their proficiency in fire safety, protection, prevention, and suppression technologies. Effective January 2024, the CFPS certification exam will be based on the new edition of the Fire Protection Handbook, but until then, the exam will continue to be based on the 20th edition of the handbook. Please note that if you’re a fire protection professional who wishes to certify before the updated exam is launched, you can schedule to take the exam before January. For more information about the CFPS certification and the upcoming exam updates, visit For those of you who have ordered a copy of the handbook to be delivered here at the Conference, don’t forget to pick it up at the NFPA Marketplace, right outside the Expo Hall in the Shoreline Foyer. A special offer is available for participants here at the Conference. If you buy now, you’ll get 10 percent off the Fire Protection Handbook (NFPA members receive an additional 10 percent discount). And while you’re in the Marketplace, take a moment to check out all the great NFPA merchandise and view some of the other NFPA publications of interest to you. We look forward to seeing you there!

NFPA LiNK Provides Early Access to 2024 Editions of 20+ Codes and Standards, Including NFPA 70E

For the past two years, NFPA LiNK® has provided professionals with an interactive digital alternative to hardcopy codebooks, offering access to NFPA® codes and standards on the user’s favorite device. On May 15, NFPA LiNK will be adding 25 additional codes and standards within the organization’s vast scope of publications, including the latest edition of NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®. For those unfamiliar with NFPA 70E, this standard establishes requirements for safe work practices to protect personnel by reducing exposure to major electrical hazards. NFPA 70E helps companies and employees avoid workplace injuries and fatalities due to shock, electrocution, arc flash, and arc blast, and assists in complying with OSHA regulations. Along with the National Electrical Code® and NFPA 70B, Standard for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, NFPA 70E aids professionals across the globe in maintaining electrical safety. In addition to the 2024 edition of NFPA 70E, new editions of 24 other NFPA documents will publish in NFPA LiNK on the 15th, including: ·       NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code ·       NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations ·       NFPA 90A, Standard for the Installation of Air-Conditioning and Ventilating Systems ·       NFPA 556, Guide on Methods for Evaluating Fire Hazard to Occupants of Passenger Road Vehicles ·       NFPA 820, Standard for Fire Protection in Wastewater Treatment and Collection Facilities With staffing shortages plaguing the industry and valuable time at all-time low, all workers in the electrical, fire, and life safety space need to be able to readily access the most up-to-date codes and standards. No longer can individuals rely on a single team member to carry a codebook holding valuable notes in its margins and earmarks on commonly cited pages. It’s more important than ever for stakeholders to collaborate, share resources, and plan accordingly while in the design and build process. Innovative resources like NFPA LiNK are at the heart of enabling this productive way of work, offering: ·       Notetaking features for individuals to add personal notes and collaborate with others, share code sections, and work across teams ·       Interactive Change Indicators that make it easier to identify and understand changes and deletions made from edition to edition ·       Bookmarks to save custom collections for quick and easy reference ·       Navigation tools that enable users to bookmark text and quickly locate information ·       NFPA DiRECT®, a situational navigation tool to help professionals identify codes related to the unique projects they encounter Interested in learning more? NFPA recently debuted a supplementary NFPA LiNK YouTube channel, complementing the platform by providing users with tutorials and quick-start video guides for optimizing NFPA LiNK, as well as content discussing industry-specific codes, classifications, and requirements for electrical, fire, and life safety. For more information about NFPA LiNK, or to sign up for a free trial, visit
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