Qualified Person. One who has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of electrical equipment and installations, and has received safety training to recognize and avoid the hazards involved. In addition, one who is authorized to test, energize, clear, ground, tag, and lockout circuits and equipment in accordance with established safety practices. Trained in the proper care and use of protective equipment, such as rubber gloves, hard hat, safety glasses or face shields, and flash resistant clothing, in accordance with established safety practices in accordance with NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.
Brings some of 70E and NEMA AB-4 into the NEC.
There are far too many electrical accidents around the country, and many situations where the installer, sideline engineers, and others get killed when the accident takes place, we had a few here in Boston recently. The engineer with his sleeves rolled up, and the electrician is DEAD!
The NEC needs to have the safety items in it, and electrical permits should not be given out unless the person who is taking out the permit understands the hazards involved and can verify proper use of PPE for all who are on thae job working on electrical systems!
I see too many of the same old run of the mill people who say no to this, and they are entitled to their opinion, ask Donnie see his burned up face, and lost limbs and the others around the world who are no longer healthy if they are alive!
70E is in another culture and the NEC is an installation document and should also be a safety code.
Put 70E in an Annex.
Last edited by Joe Tedesco; 04/21/0809:51 PM. Reason: Spelling
While I agree that safe work practices are necessary, I cannot agree with putting either of those documents into the NEC. I also have run into too many jerks who take the definition of qualified person quoted above and try to tell me that since I did not pay for an extremely expensive training course in the past month or year that I am no longer a qualified person. We have too many so called safety "experts and/or monitors/inspectors" on jobs that do not know anything about the actual trades work jumping on the workers just to act like sing ****. I have personally seen too much of this abuse in the name of safety to want to see these jerks given any more codes or regulations to use to beat up people trying to do thier jobs.
Yes we do need to teach safety. The best training of job related includes safety. That is the responsibility of the trainers and supervisors. It is not the documentation game that so many so called safety personnel play to insure their own empire gets bigger. True safety comes from those workers who are truly supported by management when they refuse to do work unsafely.
Last edited by Trumpy; 10/03/0803:53 AM. Reason: Typo's
PS: Here's my revised Proposal, if you don't like it send a comment!
Proposed Annex K:
FROM NFPA 70E,
This annex is not a part of the requirements of this NFPA document but is included for informational purposes only. K.1 General Categories. There are three general categories of electrical hazards: electrical shock, arc-flash, and arc-blast. K.2 Electric Shock. Approximately 30,000 nonfatal electrical shock accidents occur each year. The National Safety Council estimates that about 1000 fatalities each year are due to electrocution, more than half of them while servicing energized systems of less than 600 volts. Electrocution is the fourth leading cause of industrial fatalities, after traffic, homicide, and construction accidents. The current required to light a 7½ watt, 120 volt lamp, if passed across the chest, is enough to cause a fatality. The most damaging paths through the body are through the lungs, heart, and brain. K.3 Arc-Flash. When an electric current passes through air between ungrounded conductors or between ungrounded conductors and grounded conductors, the temperatures can reach 35,000°F. Exposure to these extreme temperatures both burns the skin directly and causes ignition of clothing, which adds to the burn injury. The majority of hospital admissions due to electrical accidents are from arc-flash burns, not from shocks. Each year more than 2,000 people are admitted to burn centers with severe arc-flash burns. Arc-flashes can and do kill at distances of 10 ft. K.4 Arc-Blast. The tremendous temperatures of the arc cause the explosive expansion of both the surrounding air and the metal in the arc path. For example, copper expands by a factor of 67,000 times when it turns from a solid to a vapor. The danger associated with this expansion is one of high pressures, sound, and shrapnel. The high pressures can easily exceed hundreds or even thousands of pounds per square foot, knocking workers off ladders, rupturing eardrums, and collapsing lungs. The sounds associated with these pressures can exceed 160 dB. Finally, material and molten metal is expelled away from the arc at speeds exceeding 700 miles per hour, fast enough for shrapnel to completely penetrate the human body.
My Proposal sent in today:
"Qualified Person. One who has been trained in the skills, and has knowledge related to the construction and operation of electrical equipment and installations, and has received formal documented and certified safety training to recognize and avoid the hazards involved. In addition, one who is certified and authorized to test, energize, clear, ground, tag, and lockout circuits and equipment in accordance with established safety practices and who is trained in first aid and in the proper care and use of protective equipment, such as rubber gloves, hard hat, safety glasses or face shields, and flash resistant clothing, in accordance with established safety practices."
In their memory and for those who have suffered a terrible death or accident and who were untrained and not qualified persons.
Safety training does not have to be formal and certified to be effective. Your clause would effective render homeowner DIY illegal, and serves only to prop up the safety training industry- classwork is NOT the only way to learn. Sorry, but I can't see NFPA approving it unless you remove all mention of formal training, certification, authorization, etc.
You also fail to mention that a lot (most?) of the electrocutions come not from electrical workers, but accidental contact from other trades. There is nothing we can do to prevent stupidity.
I do agree that there has to be a better definition of "qualified person", but I do not believe this is the best approach.
Joe, as much I respect you drive for safety, it is the person inside each of us that makes the difference. all the mandatory training in the world will not help if the person chooses not to activly paticpates.
A few years back, a co-worker and I put on a week long code training class for our maintenance personnel. We covered all levels of codes and regs all for the applicable codes through loacl, state, federal and OSHA. My agency's current policy only allows that licensed electricans, contractors, and ceritified electrical inspectors (scary) to perform electrical installations and maintenance on our facilities. This discussion turn into a big debate. We went through in detail why this was the way it was and we thought we were pretty thourgh on the matter. 24 hours later, one of the attendees asked me for some electrical parts to do some electrical project. In one ear and out the other. It was not a mandatory class. He attend, he particpated and he went and did his own thing. Just like the comedian Ron White says, "You can not fix stupid."
Also by mandatory the training can be over kill for many. Other trades work in close proximity to electricity. You would have to create a slew of classes for all these exceptions. I attend a 2 day electrical safety class a few years back that was very informal to me because it was geared towards electricians. There were a couple other there that took the class on their own for safety and they were lost through the whole class. The basically got nothing out of the class but a handbook. Granted they stepped in something more then they could handle but they were doing what you are recommending.
I got alot out of the class because I am a geek when it comes to the elctrical trade. If I was like most folks, I would have not gotten that much out of it. I took the course as a refresher. I came home with new information only on one small topic. Some would have said that it was a waste of thier time because they got nothing from it. I am "inside wireman" so I have nothing to do with any thing over 600 Volts. Much of the class was geared towards HV safety. However, I am a, "the glass is half full" kind of guy. I came home with the knowledge that I know what I am doing and how to apply safety in my work.
Many people are set in their ways where if they were in my shoes would have "tuned out" as soon they start to talk about hot sticks and the infamous space or moon suit. In order to reach out to them especically if it is mandatory training, you have to be real specific. Our trade is broad and when you throw in other trades, the field is even broader.
Safety starts at ground level. More rules and regs will not make it better. It has to be managed, not regulated. By more regulations makes it harder to do it right. More rules only makes is more difficult for the person who is doing it right in the first place.
You can submit a proposal now that can recommend that the present definition for a qualified person should never be changed ever again because it is just fine the way it is, in the meantime I will wait to see what the panel decides.
I believe such proposals, and even codes like NFPA 70E, are a great step backward in safety, and will result in MORE injuries, not less.
Pretty bold statement? Read on ....
The US has but TWO universities offering degrees in "Safety Engineering." I once attended one of them. Integral to their curriculum is the actual data that tracks the influence of different approaches to safety. The short version? Only today are we regaining the safety record we had in the early 70's. What set safety back? In a word: OSHA.
When safety first focused on equipment, there was a very minor reduction in accident rates. When safety doctrine focused on training and procedures, there was a minor reduction. When the doctrine changed to focusing on management issues and corporate attitudes, then there was a HUGE drop in accident rates. Several more recent studies, documenting this very effect, appear in the "Searching for Excellence" series of books by John Peters (Not the ESI guy!)
OSHA came on the scene, got everyone looking at materials and equipment again, and guess what happened? Accident rates went WAY up. It was like stepping into a time machine, and going back 30 years.
So, Joe ... we can take your approach of focusing on 'training' and 'documentation' and 'certification' ... and expect, at most, a minor improvement.
Or, we can rid ourselves of the regulatory albatross, and actually expect folks to act in a responsible manner. Treating adults like children is not conducive to adult behavior.
Not likely. OSHA was not the source used for the data. Rather, data from workers' comp, fatalities, etc. - all data a bit harder to fudge - was the basis.
Confirming this point, there have been several case studies where changes in management / culture were matched to changes in accident rates - going in both directions.
In a nutshell, it is the awake, aware, alive worker, who feels 'in control' and is supported by the corporate culture who is safe. If he feels he's just a cog in the machine, with management that believes employees should be seen but not heard - thats' where accidents happen.