While many updates were made to the National Fire Protection Association 70E standard, one important section that deserves focus is employee training. Unsafe conditions and pieces of equipment cause about one third of electrical injuries and incidents; the other two-thirds are due to the unsafe acts of employees. It is important to educate your employees on how to avoid and prevent exposure to electrical hazards.

According to the 2012 NFPA 70E Handbook, section 110.2(A), “safety training shall apply to employees who face a risk of electrical hazard that is not reduced to a safe level by the applicable electrical installation requirements. Such employees shall be trained to understand the specific hazards associated with electrical energy.” An effective NFPA 70E training program must include relevant safety training topics that are cohesive in the prevention of electrical-related safety incidents. Following is a list of subjects you should include in your training session. Cover these topics in depth with all affected employees:

• Inspecting and selecting PPE

• Lockout/tagout procedures

• Approach boundaries

• Recognizing electrical hazards

• Safe work practices

• Emergency procedures

• NFPA 70E requirements

Changes & updates

You must update and revise your current program to implement any new changes that need to be made. An example of this is reviewing new changes put forth by NFPA. As stated earlier, NFPA made some updates to part 70E, section 110.2, Training Requirements. One of the most important modifications to the standard is the retraining frequency. According to section 110.2(D)(3) Retraining, “Retraining shall be performed at intervals not to exceed 3 years.” This new rule will aid in keeping all employers and their employees updated with new and upcoming standards. This rule also applies to 120.2(B)(2) Lockout/Tagout. Retraining every three years is required there as well.

According to NFPA 70E 105.3, employees must now be trained prior to implementing safety-related work practices. Preventative training is also included in part 110.1(C), which specifies that training on the release of a victim from exposed energized equipment. This is required for employees who are exposed to shock hazards and for employees who are responsible for taking action in case of such emergencies, as well as added provisions for certifying employees on AED use.

Section 110.2(D)(1)(c) has also been updated to clarify that on-the-job training associated with this requirement is necessary for the employee to be considered a qualified person and to provide clarity on the duties being performed by the employee. A qualified person is someone who has the abilities and knowledge related to the process and production of electrical equipment and installations. This person has received extensive safety training on the electrical hazards involved. As a result, section 110.2(D)(2) now clarifies the necessary level of training for unqualified persons on electrical safety-related work practices. An unqualified person is defined as someone who is not qualified, such as a machine operator or someone who does not perform work on or around exposed electrical conductors.

One more essential update to pay attention to is 110.2(E), which now requires that training documentation include the “content of the training.” Documenting what your training consists of will allow you to easily update and change your current training. You can make revisions as your environment and processes change or new standard updates become available.

Additional training

NFPA 70E does state that anytime you implement a new piece of equipment or process that poses new or additional hazards, workers must receive additional training to help further their comprehension of that particular electrical safety hazard. This also includes reassigning an employee to a job that is not part of their normal workday. Additional training must also be provided in that case as well.


For more information on the new 2012 NFPA 70E standards, reference the “2012 NFPA 70E Handbook for Electrical Safety in the Workplace."

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Sargent, S. Jeffrey and Michael D. Fontaine. “2012 NFPA 70E Handbook for Electrical Safety in the Workplace”. Quincy: NFPA, 2012. Print.

Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2010. http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm