Topic: Electrical

Are you working with or operating an Energy Storage System site? Help us define the landscape, by participating in this questionnaire

Battery Energy Storage Systems (ESS) are a critical part of today's dramatic push for sustainable & renewable electrical energy.  As a result, these systems are proliferating at an exponential pace. While the fire protection and emergency response communities are working with ESS providers and others to ensure acceptably safe installations, there are still gaps in the fundamental understanding of the hazard of li-ion ESS and serious safety questions remain unanswered. Thus, it is imperative for the full landscape of battery ESS hazards and mitigation strategies to be thoroughly defined, reviewed, and communicated to the energy storage and fire safety communities to support safe proliferation of these units. To further advance the safe proliferation of these systems, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, NFPA's research affiliate, initiated a research study, in collaboration with Jensen Hughes, to establish an understanding of the landscape of lithium-ion battery-based energy storage system deployments, their hazards and consequences, and the factors that should be considered for comprehensive protection and hazard mitigation strategies, in addition to developing a research roadmap to address existing knowledge gaps. For more information, a summary of this project is available here. This research, funded by the Foundation’s Energy Storage Research Consortium, will support the development of best practices and inform updates to relevant safety standards around energy storage systems. To meet the objectives of this study, we invite owners, operators, manufacturers, installers/commissioners of battery energy storage systems, or other affiliated representatives to participate in an international questionnaire conducted as part of this study by the Fire Protection Research Foundation, NFPA's research affiliate, to collect information that establishes a comprehensive understanding of the full landscape of lithium-ion battery-based energy storage system installations/deployments. The questions seek to identify and categorize the types and non-proprietary characteristics of commercially available li-ion battery ESS installations, applications, use cases and the environment in which they are deployed (indoors or outdoors, type of construction, distance to combustibles, protection systems, etc.). This information is intended to support the assessment of ESS hazard mitigation strategies and the development of comprehensive protection strategies for the vast array of ESS deployments, in addition to exposing knowledge gaps in need of further research. Your participation in this research questionnaire is voluntary. You may skip any question that you are not able to answer. Any information provided through this survey is completely anonymous. If you have installations to report, we ask that you participate in this survey. It is estimated that the survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. The deadline is July 15, 2022. Thank you in advance for your participation!

NFPA Electrical Inspection Membership: Building the Future One Connection at a Time

NFPA’s commitment to electrical safety has not wavered since our founding in 1896. Over the last 125 years, we have supported many different stakeholder groups (architects, contractors, designers, engineers, first responders, and inspectors, to name a few!), each with a unique role and different objectives, but all with the shared bond of a commitment to the elimination of death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and other related hazards. Over the last several years, we heard a message loud and clear—the unique and independent voice of the electrical inspection community was being lost in a chorus of other sounds.  So we formed our Electrical Inspection Section, a member benefit available only to qualified individuals, in order to create a community for like-minded professionals to support each other in keeping communities safer through efficient and effective enforcement programs.We built the community so people could share ideas, network, help each other, and support the development and use of codes and standards.Today we are more committed than ever to supporting the electrical inspection community directly—so that NFPA can better understand the unique and diverse needs of a unique and diverse group of stakeholders, and we can work together in support of improved community safety through code compliance. A critical first step in connecting more directly is building a program to formalize these relationships, and so I’m thrilled to be able to talk about our new offering, the Electrical Inspection Membership.  This offer enables qualified electrical inspection professionals to enjoy a number of member benefits, including:  An introductory annual price of $99 A print copy of the 2023 edition of NEC as soon as it is available Access to NEC Changes Online Training (2017 and 2020 editions now; 2023 when available) Automatic enrollment in the Electrical Inspectors Member Section, including exclusive access to members-only content Access to expert 1-on-1 help with technical questions about NFPA codes and standards Subscription to NFPA Journal® with news and analysis of emerging issues Voting privileges after 180 days of membership We hope you’re as excited as we are to start building an engaged community so that we can drive compliance through collaboration and make the world a safer place! For more information and to apply, visit our page of resources for electrical inspection professionals
Wooden blocks

A Better Understanding of NFPA 70E: Setting Up an Electrical Safety Program (Part 3 - Procedures)

NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® requires that an electrical safety program (ESP) be established and documented. Section 110.5(G) requires that electrical safety procedures be developed, and Annex E provides guidance on things to include in a detailed procedure. It is the employer’s responsibility to document procedures applicable to the tasks performed by employees and to train employees on using those procedures. Procedures are required to be in place before an employee conducts a task. NFPA 70E does not contain safety procedures that an employee can be trained to follow. An ESP that directs an employee to follow NFPA 70E, Section 120.5 as the procedure for establishing an electrically safe work condition (ESWC) in the specific workplace violates the 110.5(G) requirement. Section 120.5 is the process necessary for establishing an ESWC. It is not a proper procedure for doing so on any specific piece of equipment. However, Section 120.5 is a good start of what to include in the procedure. Conceivably, a detailed procedure should be developed for any task an employee may perform on equipment. Using the ESWC as an example, the requirement to determine all possible sources of electrical supply to the specific equipment is not a procedure for a piece of equipment. An employee should not be required to determine power sources each time they work on the equipment. The procedure for Motor Starter #4 should direct them to Subpanel #2 to open Circuit Breaker #15. The procedure should say wait 15 minutes after removal of power to allow stored energy to dissipate rather than need to determine how to release stored electrical energy each time. Section 120.5(6) indicates that it is not appropriate to be used as a procedure; “apply lockout/tagout devices in accordance with a documented and established procedure.” This is often a separate, detailed procedure rather than being part of the ESWC procedure. The remaining ESWC requirements need to be detailed for the specific equipment. Correct your ESP if it depends on employees using NFPA 70E as the documented procedure for establishing an ESWC or for any other task. Just documenting a procedure is not enough. It is beneficial to try out a new procedure on the equipment to identify missing steps, expose shortcomings, determine necessary tools, or reveal improvements before it is applied by an employee in the field. Once completed, employees must be trained to understand and use the procedure. Although the EMP must include regular auditing of a procedure (Sections 120.5(M)(2) and 120.5(M)3)), employees should be encouraged to suggest improvements to the procedure anytime they find the procedure lacking. The ESP principles that are used as the basis for procedures typically do not change. A procedure should not be as rigid. Increased electrical safety depends on continuous improvement throughout the entire ESP. Do not let your ESP become stagnant.

NFPA Electrical Section Honors Members at Conference & Expo Reception

Against the backdrop of a late spring evening, the Electrical Section gathered for a reception at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston on Tuesday to recognize its members, and their dedication and shared commitment to the creation of standards that help guide and protect our workforce and the people who depend on them for their safety. One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the Richard G. Biermann Award to Michael J. Johnston, Executive Director of Codes, Standards, and Safety at the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Mike Johnston (center) with John Kovacik (left) and Mark Earley (right).  The highly regarded award, created in honor of Richard G. Biermann former chair of the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) Correlating Committee, recognizes an outstanding volunteer who has demonstrated a commitment to actively contributing to the advancement of the NEC by furthering its development and/or promoting its implementation. Johnston is responsible for managing the codes, standards, and safety functions for NECA and is secretary of the NECA Codes and Standards Committee. He is immediate past chair and currently principal member of the NEC Correlating Committee while continuing to serve as an active member of the NFPA Standards Council. He is also a member of and immediate past chair of the NFPA Electrical Section. Johnson received recognition for his work at the NFPA “Stars at Night” Awards Gala on Sunday, which celebrated the brightest starts in fire and life safety.  “Mike has shown incredible dedication and leadership around the NEC project for many years and is a valuable member of the NEC Correlating Committee and NFPA Standards Council in addition to being a former Code-Making Panel member and chair,” said Jeff Sargent, Principal Specialist and Executive Secretary for the NFPA Electrical Section. It is an honor for the NFPA Electrical Section to present him with this esteemed award in support of his continued work to advance safety.” Another highlight of the evening was the recognition of 17 members of the NEC Quarter Century Club. Each was honored for their 25 years of service on an NEC Code-Making Panel (CMP). The awardees are: Steve Campolo, CMP 2 Donald R. Cook, CMP 17 Paul Dobrowsky, CMP 5 Gerald Lee Dorna, CMP 16 Mark Goodman, CMP 14 David H. Kendall, CMP 8 Gerald W. Kent, CMP 6 Edwin S. Kramer, CMP 15 William G. Lawrence, Jr., CMP 14 David A. Pace, CMP 3 William J. McCoy, CMP 16 James J. Rogers, CMP 4 Gregory J. Steinman, CMP 5 Robert C. Turner, CMP 12 Walter N. Vernon, IV, CMP 15 David B. Wechsler, CMP 14 Robert H. Wills, CMP 4 Standards Council Committee Service Awardees, also in attendance, were acknowledged for their hard work, passion, and dedication to activities related to the standards development process. These awards were handed out at the Technical Meeting earlier this morning. They are: Donald W. Ankele – CMP 14 Ernest J. Gallo – CMP 16 Palmer L. Hickman – CMP 1 David L. Hittinger – CMP 1 Richard A. Holub – CMP 14 Randall J. Ivans – CMP 16 David H. Kendall – CMP 8 Robert D. Osborne – CMP 9 Nathan Philips – CMP 5 The Electrical Section also made note of the contributions and commitment of three outgoing CMP chairs. They are: Kenneth Boyce – CMP 1 Keith Lofland – CMP 7 Linda Little – CMP 13 “After the last two years of not being able to see each other in person, we’re extremely pleased that this year members of the Electrical Section could come together to celebrate and recognize our achievements, including completing the First and Second Draft phases of the revisions process using virtual meeting technology,” said Sargent. “We know there is still more to do because the electrical industry is constantly changing, but it’s the collaboration and our shared commitment to safety that makes us feel proud of all that we can accomplish together, and we look forward to meeting future challenges with the energy and passion that our volunteer committee members have always brought to this process.” For more information about the NEC and committee membership, visit the NEC webpage on our site. Top photo: The new members of the NEC Quarter Century Club. From left to right – Steve Campolo, Donald Cook, Paul Dobrowsky, Gerald Kent, Edwin Kramer, James Rogers, and Gregory Steinman.

Electric vehicle safety training at NFPA C&E helps firefighters safely mitigate EV incidents

While electric vehicles (EVs) continue to grow in popularity on our roadways, with dozens of new models coming out each year, many fire departments remain untrained in knowing how to safely and effectively handle EV incidents. To help first responders better understand the risks associated with EV incidents and how to safely handle them, an Electric Vehicles Safety Training was hosted today by Jason Emory with the Waterbury, CT Fire Department at the NFPA Conference & Expo® in Boston. Firefighters received essential training and learned tactical considerations needed to safely respond to these types of incidents. Topics covered during the two-hour session included an introduction to electric EVs, scene size-up and management, vehicle identification, immobilization, high voltage system shutdown methods, occupant rescue, and post-incident recovery and disposal considerations. If you weren’t able to attend today’s EV training, don’t despair! The NFPA Electric Vehicle Safety training program is available online. In addition, NFPA recently received a grant from General Motors so that volunteer and under-served fire departments can access the online training for free for one year, as volunteer and underserved departments often don’t have the resources to receive the needed training. About two-thirds (67 percent) of U.S. fire departments are served by part-time or volunteer firefighters, according to NFPA data. NFPA offers a wealth of resources on electric vehicle safety and training. For more information, visit https://www.nfpa.org/EV.
Sign at the NFPA C&E in Boston

Powering Through the 2023 NEC: Changes Session

Many people may not know that the evolution of NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), has taken place uninterrupted since the code was introduced in 1897! The 2023 edition of the NEC is no exception. During an early Monday morning session here at NFPA’s Conference & Expo, attendees got a glimpse at some of the major proposed changes to the 2023 NEC as outlined in the second draft. Did you know there were 4,006 public inputs submitted during the first draft stage of the process? That’s nearly 300 more than were submitted during the 2020 cycle! And all aimed at paving the way to a safe and efficient electrical future. Some of the key areas of focus for these inputs include: Systems and equipment over 1,000 volts Worker safety Minimum size branch circuits GFCI requirements for specific appliances Kitchen island receptacles Cannabis production facilities Cybersecurity During the presentation, David Williams, an electrical inspector for Delta Township in Lansing, Michigan, and Thomas Domitrovich, electrical engineer and vice president at Eaton, provided a broader look at each of these topics that they say, are likely to have a positive impact on electrical safety and installations. The NEC continues to make strides to increase electrical safety and at the 2022 Technical Meeting on Thursday, we will learn about any further recommendations for amendments to the 2023 edition through previously submitted and Certified Amending Motions (CAMs). Then they’ll be voted on by eligible NFPA members. If there are any unsuccessful motions, they may be appealed to the Standards Council, which will convene in early August. As part of this August meeting, the Standards Council will hear the appeals on CAMs and once those decisions are rendered, the Standards Council will consider and make final determination of issuance of the 2023 edition. Stay tuned for daily reports and get the latest news and information about the 2023 NEC from the Thursday NEC Technical Meeting by visiting the website.
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