Shining a Light on the National Electrical Code

  • May 6, 2019
  • Written By: Brooke Williams
  • No Comments

May is National Electrical Safety Month and at City Electric Supply, safety is of the utmost importance to us, so we carry only the best and safest products in the electrical field. Here’s what you need to know about the NEC, and how CES can help you work safer and smarter.

History of the NEC

Introduced in 1897, the NEC was published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as part of the National Fire Codes series. The NEC is available as a 1,000-page book and in digital form since the 1993 edition. The latest edition of the NEC released in 2017, which is currently being revised, with a new edition set for release in 2020.

As it stands, the National Electrical Code is not a federal regulation, and instead is known as a “uniform code.” The federal government leaves it up to each individual state to determine if they want to authorize uniform codes. In some cases, a uniform code is formed as a set of standards, and each state can determine if they want to adopt all or parts of the NEC as they see fit.

Drafted more than 100 years ago, the first NEC booklet received absolute approval in 1897 from electrical experts across the United States and Europe. It was set to establish a safe, uniform system for electricians, which had not existed up to that point.

The NEC Today

Today, the NEC is a roughly 1,000-page book that contains standards for electrical design, installation, and inspection. These standards are designed to reduce the risk of fire damage from electrical systems. Many safety organizations, including OSHA, adopt the NEC and require their electrical workers to learn and uphold the concepts it presents.

Some of the issues covered in the NEC include:

  • Guidelines for working with high and low voltage
  • Wiring techniques to reduce the risk of fire
  • Reliable configuration of safety connections
  • Maintaining a safe workspace
  • Indoor and outdoor electricity installs
  • Arc flash hazards
  • Working in manholes
  • Working with hydrogen technologies

Industrial settings can be potentially dangerous environments if proper protocols are not met. The NEC poses well-defined guidelines that safeguard workers from a number of injuries, including electric shock, electrocution, arc flashes, and arc blasts.

There are many benefits to industrial workers who go through this safety training. The NFPA 70 is very dense reading, and it’s nearly impossible to retain the most important, highly technical information. A formal training often ensures that workers remember the most important details for their daily work, as many industries require validation of industrial workers’ safety skills. The NEC reduces workplace accidents, benefitting employers by reducing downtime, worker’s compensation payments, and lawsuits related to hazardous conditions. Trainings typically highlight the reasons why certain actions are unsafe and improve worker confidence.

When it comes to access of the NEC, older versions are available for free online or at a public records office. New versions are not signed into law for several years after publication and are sold by the NFPA to support future safety efforts and research. Customers can buy the 1,000-page book or pay for online access to the digital version.

By following the guidelines given by the NEC, industrial workers can reduce the chance of falling victim to these painful and potentially fatal injuries and create a safer work environment for all. All those who work in the electrical field should be familiar with its contents and receive periodic NEC training. The NFPA continually revises and updates the NEC to reflect new technologies, protecting future generations of workers from harm.

How We Can Help

City Electric Supply understands the importance of safety at the work site, so we offer safe tools, equipment, and safety gear. Whether it’s insulated hand tools from Klein Tools or weatherproof covers from Intermatic, CES has something for your safety needs. Check with your local branch today and see what products we carry to make your jobs safer.

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