“3 New Requirements in 2014 National Electrical Code”
By Charles Helmick, Training Manager – AVO Training Institute
AVO Training Manager Charles Helmick presented “3 New Requirements in 2014 National Electrical Code” in the December 2013 issue of ISHN Magazine. The 2014 NEC has added 3 new items to the 110.16 – Arc Flash Hazard Warning requirements. These requirements are intended to require owners of electrical equipment to provide labels that have enough information regarding the potential arc flash hazard that qualified electrical persons can select procedures and personal protective equipment.
Switchgear To Be Labeled
The first requirement is for these labels to be on switchgear. In a previous code cycle, the term “such as” was added to the requirement regarding electrical equipment. Evidently when the NEC says the requirement is for “Electrical equipment such as switchboards, panel boards, industrial control panels, meter socket enclosures and motor control centers that are in other than dwelling units,” it was not clear that this included switchgear. This requirement has been amended for clarification.
Equipment Labeling by The Manufacturer
The second change is the allowance for the equipment to be factory marked. In 2002 when this requirement was added, it specified field-marking requirements. Since the NEC is an installation requirement guide and installations are subject to inspection by the authority having jurisdiction the inspection could be delayed on new equipment if only field marking is allowed. The electrical engineer who is providing specifications for the equipment can now provide information to the factory so the equipment can be labeled, installed and ready for inspection.
New Signage/Labeling Requirements
The third and probably the most significant change is that the marking shall meet the requirements in the new NEC 2014 110.21(B), which states that where caution, warning or danger signs or labels are required, they must meet three requirements.
The marking shall adequately warn of the hazard using effective words, colors or symbols. This may be subjective, but the requirements for adequate warning are clearly stated in the NFPA 70E, 130.5(C) Equipment Labeling. Equipment labeling for the arc flash hazard must meet three criteria to be considered adequate. First it must have one of the following: ( a.) Available incident energy at corresponding working distance; (b.) Minimum arc rating of clothing; (c.) Required level of PPE; (d.) Highest Hazard Risk Category for the equipment; Nominal system voltage; and Arc flash boundary.
Second, the label shall be permanently affixed and cannot be handwritten unless, as allowed by the Exception, the information on the equipment is subject to change.
Third, the label must be durable to last in the environment.
The new changes are all working together to make this information more readily available to qualified persons who may be exposed to an arc flash hazard while working on or near electrical equipment.