Electronics Protection - November/December 2012 - (Page 10)

Feature What the New NFPA Workplace Electrical Safety Provisions Mean for Data Center Managers Wally Vahlstrom Emerson Network Power Electrocutions are the fourth leading cause of traumatic occupational fatalities, and more than 3,600 workers suffer disabling electrical contact injuries annually, according to the American Society of Safety Engineers. To help prevent these tragedies, the new 2012 version of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace makes important changes in the areas of safety, maintenance and training. While the importance of electrical safety is clear, understanding the complex regulatory requirements can be difficult. This article provides an overview of the safety and maintenance changes that most impact data centers, discusses challenges to implementing electrical safety programs, and shares best practices for an effective program for data centers. Safety-Related Work Practices - NFPA 70E already obligated employers to meet with contractors to communicate known hazards and information about installation that the contractor needs to make assessments. New in NFPA 70E is a requirement that this meeting be documented. The new standard also adds muscle to its provision that employees who work around (not just on) energized electrical equipment must be safety trained. Employers must perform annual inspections to ensure each employee is complying with all safetyrelated work practices outlined in 70E. They also now must ensure employees are retrained at intervals not to exceed three years, and that the training content be documented. What’s more, data center owners must audit their safety training program and field work at least every three years to ensure it complies with 70E. The audit must be documented and revisions made to the safety program if any elements are not in compliance. Regarding use of equipment, the standard now specifies that only qualified persons perform testing and maintenance within the limited approach boundary. According to OSHA 1910, the definition of qualified includes required training, demonstrated skills, and knowledge of installation and hazards. The standard also now includes use of ground fault circuit interrupters where required by local, state and federal codes or standards. Work Involving Arc Flash Hazards - Arcing from an electrical fault produces temperatures that can easily exceed 30,000°F, and arcing can create a hot blast with force similar to an explosion, enough to throw a worker’s body across the room. Even someone standing more than 10 feet from the fault source can be fatally burned. The problem is severe enough that IEEE and NFPA have joined forces to fund and support research and testing to increase industry and public awareness of arc flash. While many data centers have implemented the basic 70E arc flash labeling requirements, the new standard goes farther. Data centers that have not been vigilant in their labeling may need to create new arc flash hazard labels. NFPA 70E states that labels now must include nominal system voltage, arc flash boundary and at least one of the following: incident energy and corresponding working distance, minimum arc rating of clothing, required level of PPE or highest Hazard/Risk Category (HRC) for the equipment. The standard also now requires documentation of the method of calculating and the data to support the information for the label. In the past, the standard was ambiguous about whether it was sufficient to use tables supplied by the standard for the arc flash boundary distance (flash protection boundary) or whether the distance would have to be calculated. The lack of clarity was often used to justify the easier method of using the tables The Roles of OSHA and NFPA in Regulating Workplace Safety The US Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and NFPA work together to ensure safe working conditions. OSHA legally requires employers to provide a safe work environment, and its regulations are enforceable under federal law. It sets general requirements for safe work practices, personal protective equipment (PPE) and hazard analysis. The NFPA is the world’s leading advocate of fire protection and has published more than 300 consensus codes and standards. Although OSHA outlines general requirements, in many cases it doesn’t specify how to achieve them. This is left to national consensus standards such as NFPA 70 National Electrical Code and NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. For example, OSHA requires the use of protective equipment when working where potential electrical hazards exist, and NFPA 70E identifies the hazards and describes the measures that can be taken to prevent electrical injuries. NFPA standards are not federal standards. However, they are used as part of electrical safety practices and are referenced as part of an OSHA citation. NFPA 70E outlines the specific safety procedures and practices to be followed when working on live equipment. The standard covers safety-related work practices associated with electrical energy during activities such as installation, inspection, operation, maintenance and demolition of electric equipment. NFPA 70E Changes Affecting Data Centers The 2012 Edition of NFPA 70E became effective August 31, 2011, making changes that require data center managers to take action. The following sections outline the relevant changes: • Safety-Related Work Practices (article 110) • Work Involving Arc Flash Hazards (article 130) • General Maintenance Requirements (article 250) 10 November/December 2012 www.ElectronicsProtectionMagazine.com http://www.ElectronicsProtectionMagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronics Protection - November/December 2012

Electronics Protection - November/December 2012
Buckeye Shapeform Provides Nuclear Lab New Case Options
Collaborative Design of Custom Enclosures - An Overview of the Process
Lowering Data Center Energy Bills: DCIM to the Rescue
What the New NFPA Workplace Electrical Safety Provisions Mean for Data Center Managers
Mitigating Risks Through Power Distribution Design
Don’t Call it a Box! Instrument Cases Can Combine Strength and Eye Appeal
L-com Adds New Sizes to Its Non-Powered Weatherproof Industrial Enclosures Line
Nusil Presents Thermally Conductive Electronic Packaging Material
Lapp’s Cable Glands Deliver EMI Protection and Simple Installation
New Surge Suppression Solution to Shield Electronics from Surge Energy Let-Through
Chatsworth Products Increases Surface Area on Cable Pathways by 400 Percent
Industry News
Calendar of Events

Electronics Protection - November/December 2012