Author(s): James Pauley. Published on May 1, 2021.

Danger & Potential


Electricity has transformed our world. From the early days of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla to modern-day energy production, storage, and distribution, our lives are better as a result of electricity.

But with great transformation comes great responsibility. Electricity is dangerous. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, approximately 1,000 people in the United States are killed each year as a result of electrical injuries; among adults, these occur mostly in occupational settings and are among the leading causes of workplace-related traumatic death. Another 30,000 non-fatal shock incidents occur each year. This is why it’s our collective responsibility to understand electricity’s danger as well as its potential.  

May is National Electrical Safety Month. It’s a time when we put added focus on how each of us can be safer in and around electricity. It’s an especially important event here at NFPA, which has played a leading role in electrical safety for well over a century. That role has included the creation of codes and standards dedicated to electrical safety, including the National Electrical Code, the premier electrical safety installation document around the world. More kilowatt-hours of electricity flow through systems designed and installed in accordance with the NEC than any other electrical installation standard. Dating all the way back to 1897, the NEC continues today, rooted in committees of professionals from all walks of the electrical infrastructure. In addition to the NEC, NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, is an important tool worldwide for enhancing the safety of electrical workers as they carry out their tasks. 
The NEC and NFPA 70E both made early appearances in NFPA LiNK (, our new digital codes and standards platform, because of their wide use and significant impact on electrical safety. NFPA LiNK makes this important information more readily available around the world, resulting in safer installations and workplaces. For even more NFPA electrical resources, visit our electrical solutions section online at

Together we can work to promote and improve electrical safety worldwide. Let’s use Electrical Safety Month to build on our own understanding and to teach those around us about electrical safety

JIM PAULEY is president and CEO of NFPA.