Volume 12, Issue Number 2 April 1, 2007

NECA North Ohio Chapter Holds NFPA 70E Seminar

NECA’s North Ohio Chapter sponsored an educational seminar about the NFPA 70E electrical safety standard on March 26 in Canton, OH. The one-day educational session was attended by 318 people including NECA company employees, customers, and allied trades such as general contractors and HVAC installers.

“Our chapter members realize the value of safety and its constant evolution. It’s important that NFPA 70E is understood to be the solution for complying with OSHA regulations concerning the electrically safe workplace,” explained NECA chapter manager Tom Shreves. “We believe that educating a broad spectrum of people with interests in the construction and maintenance industry is the best way to spread the word and ‘change the culture,’ to lead the way toward making a safer workplace.”

NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace is the safety standard for electrical construction and maintenance work. It is used in conjunction with NFPA 70, the National Electrical Code (NEC):

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“NEIS 2006 YEARBOOK” CD Now Available

/ The latest annual CD compilation of National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS™) has just been issued by NECA. It’s a complete set of NEIS in easy-to-use electronic format.

The NEIS 2006 YEARBOOK contains all NEIS standards published through the end of 2006. It also includes a brand-new feature — an archive of discontinued NEIS standards, including older versions that have been superseded by later editions.

“Our new NEIS 2006 YEARBOOK CD is definitely the most convenient format for engineers, contractors, and other users of NECA installation standards,” observes Brooke Stauffer, NECA’s executive director for standards and safety. “It puts the most information in the smallest space at the lowest price.”

There are currently 35 published NEIS, with more in development. They cover the full range of products and systems installed by professional electrical contractors, from high-voltage switchgear to lighting systems to fiber optic communications networks.

The NEIS 2006 YEARBOOK is also an economical solution for users of NECA’s installation standards. The new annual CD is priced at $200 (with NECA-member and quantity discounts available), while the complete set of NEIS paper books costs nearly $1000.

ORDERING INFORMATION: The new NEIS 2006 YEARBOOK CD is priced at $200 (NECA-members and quantity discounts available). To purchase it, contact the NECA Order Desk at (301) 215-4504 tel, (301) 215-4500 fax, or, and request Index No. NECA 2000-07. Provide your name, company, mailing address, and NECA member number (where applicable).

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NFPA Moves to Streamline National Electrical Code Process

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has revised its procedures to streamline approval of the National Electrical Code (NEC) at the association’s annual meeting, scheduled for June 4-7, 2007 in Boston.

The new procedures require advance notice of the intent to make a motion at the Technical Committee Report (TCR) session held as part of the NFPA annual meeting.   The purpose of this rule change is to prevent last-minute appeals of the NEC and other NFPA codes and standards, and establish the meeting agenda in advance.

Historically, such appeals (known as “floor actions”) have been filed by interests unhappy with the decisions of Code-Making Panels and other NFPA standards committees.  Such floor actions were often a last-ditch attempt to change the content of documents after regular opportunities for public review and comment had ended.

Now, NFPA has changed its Regulations Governing Committee Projects to require that a “Notice of Intent to Make a Motion,” or NITMAM, be filed well before the annual meeting. May 4, 2007 is the deadline to file NITMAMs related to approval of the 2008 NEC.

Certified Motions

A motions committee appointed by the NFPA Standards Council will review all NITMAMs and certify those conforming to the Regulations. The committee may also consult with those who are proposing motions, help clarify a motion’s intent and, in certain circumstances, combine related motions together.

A list of certified motions will be published before the TCR session scheduled for Wednesday, June 6. Only these certified motions (and certain allowable follow-up motions) will then be allowed at the TCR session. New motions that haven’t been certified in advance will be ruled out of order.

Documents on which no NITMAMs are filed (approximately 80% of all NFPA codes and standards) will be treated as “consent documents” that can bypass the TCR session and go directly to the Standards Council for final approval.

“We welcome this rule change by NFPA,” observed Brooke Stauffer, executive director for standards and safety at NECA. “NITMAMs should speed up the processing of the National Electrical Code and other documents, while making the final approval process fairer for everybody.”

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OSHA Publishes General Industry Electrical Standard

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published the final rule of its Subpart S revisions on February 14, 2007. It revises OSHA’s standard for existing electrical installations, which is contained in 1910.302 through 1910.308 of Subpart S, with relevant definitions in 1910.399. A link to the final rule in the Federal Register appears at the end of this article.

This is the first revision to OSHA’s general industry electrical standard in 25 years. Significant changes include the following; OSHA’s general industry electrical safety regulations will now:

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NECA Electrical Symbols Standard is Now CAD-Compatible

/NECA 100-2006, Standard for Symbols for Electrical Construction Drawings has just been revised and updated. This ANSI-approved standard describes graphic symbols used to represent electrical wiring and equipment on construction drawings.

NEIS are the first performance and workmanship standards for electrical construction. The new-published second edition of NECA 100 comes with a CAD CD-ROM, which is compatible with all major computerized drafting systems. This is a major functional enhancement over the original 1999 version of the publication.

Ordering information. The new NECA 100-2006 standard is available in different versions: as a paper book with CAD CD, a paper book only, or as a .PDF dowload. Prices are as follows (with NECA-member and quantity discounts available):

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Author, Author! Article by NECA Company President Featured in “Safety + Health” Magazine

William A. Koertner, Jr., president and CEO of MYR Group Inc., was a featured columnist in the February 2007 issue of Safety + Health magazine, published by the National Safety Council. His article, “Powerline Construction: Building a Culture of Safety,” describes the efforts of an industry-OSHA partnership to improve safety in the inherently hazardous business of constructing and repairing high-voltage utility power systems.

The OSHA Transmission & Distribution Strategic Partnership was formed in 2004 by NECA, IBEW, six major line construction firms, and the electric utility trade association. Its purpose is to reduce injuries and fatalities in line construction through activities such as improved training and working to build an industry-wide culture of safety.

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More Wrangling Over Paying for PPE

A bill that would require employers to pay for OSHA-mandated personal protective equipment (PPE) was introduced last month in the House. H.R. 1327 by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Cal) and Rep. George Miller (D-Cal).

The “Protective Equipment for America’s Workers Act” directs the Secretary of Labor to implement OSHA’s draft PPE standard within 30 days of being signed into law. The standard was first proposed in 1999 but a final rule has never been published.

Employers Oppose Union Lawsuit

The “Protective Equipment for America’s Workers Act” isn’t the first attempt to force OSHA’s hand. The AFL-CIO and the United Food and Commercial Workers filed a lawsuit earlier this year seeking to compel OSHA to issue a rulemaking that would require employers to pay for their workers’ PPE. Current OSHA regulations require the use of PPE for hazardous occupations but don’t specify who is responsible to buy it.

On March 5, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and two industry groups filed a motion to become friends of the court opposing the unions’ lawsuit. The Chamber, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Trucking Associations state in their motion that OSHA “does not have the legal authority to force employers to pay for personal protective equipment” and that this issue should properly be settled by collective bargaining. NECA made a similar argument in comments filed with OSHA in October 2004; to read NECA’s comments, visit and scroll to the end.

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Expanded AFCI Use in Proposed 2008 NEC
A proposal was accepted for the 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) that expands the use of arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) to all 15A and 20A branch circuits in new dwellings. AFCIs are intended to protect against fires caused by arcing faults. Conventional circuit breakers and fuses don’t always react to arcing faults if the magnitude of the arc current is low.

AFCIs were first introduced in the NEC in 1999 (with an effective date of January 1, 2002). Section 210.12(B) currently requires all 120-volt branch circuits that supply 15A and 20A outlets in dwelling unit bedrooms to be protected by an AFCI. The 8 to 4 vote by CMP-2 expands the AFCI requirements from branch circuits supplying sleeping rooms to all branch circuits in dwelling units. The final decision on NEC 2008 code proposals will be made at the National Fire Protection Association annual meeting in June 2007.

New Associate Standards Director for NECA
Caitlin C. Byrne has joined the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) as the organization’s new Associate Director of Standards. She will be responsible for managing NECA’s well-known National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS)® program, in addition to producing safety publications and products.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with a strong team like NECA,” said Byrne. “The NEIS framework is vast and interesting, and I look forward to being able to contribute to the growth of such an important program.” Caitlin was previously publications coordinator at the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

2008 National Electrical Code Fun Facts
It’s getting close now to the end of the development process to revise the 2005 National Electrical Code and turn it in to the 2008 edition. Highlights include the following:

There were 3,688 proposed revisions for the 2008 NEC. The next edition will include four new articles:

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