Any organization utilizing electrical assets in their production environments or facilities will be aware of NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. This standard is what OSHA uses when assessing companies’ adherence to certain safety standards. However, NFPA 70E is further informed by the standard 1584-2018, which is developed by the IEEE.
As defined by OSHA, combustible dust is “a solid material composed of distinct particles or pieces, regardless of size, shape or chemical composition, which can present a fire or deflagration hazard when suspended in air or some other oxidizing medium over a range of concentrations.”
January of 2018 saw the most recent update to 70E- the workplace electrical safety standard developed by NFPA. While the standard itself is not a law, it was developed at the request of OSHA, which uses much of its language when assessing organizations for compliance. Many organizations also follow 70E to comply with specific OSHA regulations.
Nearly three workers die every week (as calculated over a five-year period) from exposure to electricity – a total of 739 deaths during that period. One-fifth of the victims were self-employed. Most fatalities (417) were caused by direct exposure to electricity, such as touching a live wire.
Each year, 2000 workers are admitted to burn centers for extended injury treatment caused by arc flash. Arc flash is an electric current that is passed through the air when insulation or isolation between electrified conductors is not sufficient to withstand the applied voltage. The flash is immediate, but the results can cause severe injury.
The results of a landmark study on high-rise fires and the best ways to battle them were released at the 2013 Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. last week, prompting many fire departments throughout the United States to re-examine the ways they deal with fires in tall buildings.