Called 'Informative' On Purpose: 2018 NFPA 70E Annexes

A significant number of pages in the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E are devoted to 17 informative annexes. Although technically not part of the mandatory text, these pages can be an important source of additional information and guidance. 

Let’s explore a few of the more significant changes proposed for the annexes. The text may be paraphrased due to space limitations, and, as always, there is a possibility of additional changes between when this article was written and when the standard is published. 

Annex A, Informative Publications: Since references to standards such ASTM and ANSI have moved from the mandatory language to informational notes, similar changes were made to annexes A and B. They were combined into Annex A and renamed “Informative Publications.” Annex A reads, “The following documents or portions thereof are referenced within this standard for informational purposes only and are thus not part of the requirements of this document.”

Annex B, Reserved: Annex B is now listed as “Reserved.”

Annex F, Risk Assessment and Risk Control: Previously titled “Risk Assessment Procedure,” this annex has been revised and reorganized as follows:

F.1 Introduction to Risk Management

F.2 Relationship to Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems

F.3 Hierarchy of Risk Control

F.4 Hazard-Based Risk Assessment

F.5 Task-Based Risk Assessment

F.6 Risk Assessment Methods

Annex H, Guidance on Selection of Protective Clothing and Other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): H.4 Conformity Assessment of PPE was added. Section 130.7(C)(14) now requires PPE to conform to appropriate product standards. This annex references ANSI/ISEA 125, American National Standard for Conformity Assessment of Safety and Personal Protective Equipment, and provides three levels of conformity assessment. 

Level 1 conformity is where the supplier or manufacturer is making a self-declaration that a product meets all of the requirements of the standard(s) to which conformance is claimed. For Level 2 conformity, the supplier or manufacturer also has a registered ISO-9001-quality management system or equivalent quality management system, and all testing has been carried out by an ISO-17025-accredited testing laboratory. For both levels, the supplier declaration of conformity is required to be made available for examination upon request. 

Level 3 conformity is where products are certified by an ISO-17065-accredited, independent, third-party certification organization (CO). The CO directs all product testing and must review or retest all changes to the product if necessary. Compliant products are issued a declaration of conformity, and products are marked with the CO’s mark or label.

H.4.3, Equivalence, states the conformity levels are not equivalent to each other and the level or rigor required to demonstrate conformity should be based on the potential safety and health consequences of using a product that does not meet a stated performance standard.

H.4.4, Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity, defines the minimum requirements that should be part of the declaration of conformity.

Annex K, General Categories of Electrical Hazards: This annex was greatly expanded, and many new statistics were added.

K.2, Electric Shock, states that electrical injuries are more often fatal than many other injury categories. For example, from 2003 to 2009, there were 20,033 electrical injuries, of which 1,573 were fatalities, totaling one fatality for every 12.74 electrical injuries. 

K.3, Arc Flash, references information from 29 CFR Subpart V, which identified 99 injures that involved burns from arcs resulting in 21 fatalities and 94 hospitalized injuries from 1991 through 1998. It also provides other statistics regarding electric shock and burn injury.

Annex O, Safety Related Design Requirements: Several revisions and additions are made to this annex, including the following:

  • O.2.3, Incident Energy Reduction Methods: Shunt trip was added as an eighth method for incident energy reduction.
  • O.2.4, Additional Safety by Design Methods: This is a new list of methods that have proven to be effective in reducing the risk associated with an arc flash and shock hazard. The list includes methods such as finger-safe components, arc-resistant equipment, remote racking and remote operation.

Annex Q, Human Performance and Workplace Electrical Safety: This new annex addresses how the concept of human performance can be applied to workplace safety. Studies by high-risk industries indicate human error is often a cause of incidents. The premise of this annex is that human error is a frequent cause of electrical incidents.

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