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Public officials in several states have embraced new safety standards, voting to adopt the 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) with minimal or no amendments, and America’s heartland has taken the lead on acceptance.
The Code is scheduled to take effect in Arkansas, Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming by August 2008. Enforcement began in North Dakota and in several Illinois jurisdictions in April 2008.
New Mexico accepted the Code for July enforcement, and it already has been implemented in Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon and parts of Alabama. Additionally, Code enforcement is scheduled to commence by the beginning of 2009 in Texas, Iowa and Utah.
The governing bodies from each of these states have accepted the NEC with Article 406.11 intact, requiring all 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere electrical outlets (receptacles) in new residential construction to be tamper-resistant. According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data, approximately 2,400 children suffer electrical injuries each year from inserting metal objects into electrical outlets. Tamper-resistant receptacles have built-in shutter systems that prevent children from inserting foreign objects into the outlets, but plugs can be inserted and removed just as with standard devices. Unlike plastic outlet caps, which can be removed or forgotten, tamper-resistant receptacles offer automatic, continuous and permanent protection against electrical burns.
Many organizations have advocated the 2008 Code adoption. For example, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) launched the Real Safety campaign this year, generating awareness about Code requirements and educating audiences on child electrical dangers.
Building and electrical professionals wanting to learn about tamper-resistant receptacles, child safety statistics and Code details can view an informational video and other resources at www.childoutletsafety.org. Additional information can be found at www.esfi.org.