EConnection
Volume 12, Issue Number 3 July 1, 2007

2008 National Electrical Code approved

The 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) was approved last month at the annual meeting of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in Boston. Significant revisions to the 2008 NEC include:

  • Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) will now be required for all branch circuits in newly-constructed dwellings.
  • All receptacles installed in dwellings must be tamper-resistant type.
  • Ground-fault circuit-interrupters (GFCI) requirements were expanded to cover more outlets in dwellings.
  • Definitions of “neutral conductor” and “neutral point” were added to Article 100.
  • Definitions and terminology relating to “grounding” and “bonding” were revised throughout the Code.
  • New requirements for selective coordination of overcurrent protection were added to Article 700 “Emergency Systems” and Article 701 “Legally-Required Standby Systems.”
  • Four new articles were added to the Code:
    • Article 355 Reinforced Thermosetting Resin Conduit: Type RTRC
    • Article 522, Control Systems for Permanent Amusement Attractions
    • Article 626, Electrified Truck Parking Space
    • Article 708, Critical Operations Power Systems (COPS)
  • Article 780, Closed-Loop and Programmed Power Distribution, was deleted from the 2008 NEC. It covered a special cabling system for “smart houses” that was subsequently rendered obsolete by Internet-based control and communications schemes.
  • Rigid nonmetallic conduit (Type RNC) was renamed “PVC Conduit,” a designation that conforms to common field practice.

Last-minute appeals
Revision of the NEC and other NFPA standards is a three-step process:

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NECA Quad Cities Chapter sponsors NEIS seminar

Contractors, consulting engineers, inspectors, and customers for electrical construction and maintenance services recently attended an educational seminar about National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS)® at the Isle of Capri Convention Center in Bettendorf, IA. Approximately 75 people attended the May 9 event sponsored by the NECA Quad Cities Chapter. It was taught by Brooke Stauffer, executive director for standards and safety at NECA’s national headquarters in Bethesda, MD.

National Electrical Installation Standards are the first performance and quality standards for electrical construction. Published by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), they supplement the minimum safety requirements of the National Electrical Code. Consulting engineers and facility managers include NEIS requirements in their plans and specifications for electrical construction and maintenance projects.

“The Quad Cities area has more nonunion electrical contractors than NECA members, so we’re always working to educate our customers, inspectors, and electrical engineers about what differentiates a NECA contractor from the competition,” observed chapter manager Steve Chesley. “This is the second time we’ve done the NEIS seminar, with the first time being in 2003. We received such a good response that time, it seemed like a good idea to repeat it every four or five years.”

NECA’s Quad Cities chapter covers parts of Illinois and Iowa on both sides of the Mississippi River. There are many heavy industrial plants in the area, including John Deere, Alcoa, and IPSCO Steel, where knowledge and utilization of the NEIS would improve the overall quality and reliability of electrical installations — and benefit NECA member companies who would get to do the work.

Bob Redecker, chief electrical inspector for the city of Moline, Illinois, stated that the seminar was very informative and professional. He called the National Electrical Installation Standards “very educational tools, which have good content, are easy to read and make common sense.” Mr. Redecker particularly likes the pictures and graphics in the NEIS, which he believes is a big advantage over just reading the National Electrical Code.
NECA chapters all around the country sponsor seminars and training classes on the
to educate their local engineers, code officials, and customers about workmanship and performance issues. NEIS are referenced in the National Electrical Code, and increasingly in customer construction documents.

“Construction quality is a major issue for our industry,” comments Brooke Stauffer of NECA National. “Section 110.12 on workmanship is probably the most quoted — and least understood — single requirement in the whole National Electrical Code. But good workmanship is clearly related to better performance for the customer, and to safety. That’s why our National Electrical Installation Standards emphasize quality and workmanship issues.”

Attendees at the May 9 event in Bettendorf, IL, received free copies of NECA 1-2006, Standard Practices for Good Workmanship in Electrical Construction. For more information about NECA’s ANSI-approved construction standards, visit www.neca-neis.org

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NEMA Debuts Educational Website about AFCIs

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has launched a new website devoted to educating homeowners, electrical contractors, builders, inspectors and others about the safety benefits of arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) — the latest in electrical circuit protection technology.

www.afcisafety.org offers a variety of educational resources on AFCI technology, including specific product information, statistics, National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements, frequently asked questions about AFCIs, and links to AFCI manufacturers and safety organizations.

Arc-fault circuit interrupters were developed to guard against a type of electrical hazard that conventional circuit breakers and fuses don’t protect against very well. Arc-faults (electric discharges through the air) create high heat that can easily ignite surrounding materials such as cloth, paper, wood framing, or some types of insulation.

Expanded AFCI requirements in 2008 NEC
The 2005 NEC currently requires that AFCIs be installed to protect bedroom power and lighting circuits. The forthcoming 2008 NEC will expand AFCI requirements to all circuits throughout new houses, apartments, and condos.

“Safety needs to be the number-one priority in home construction, and the expanded NEC requirements for AFCIs support this important safety measure,” said Gerard Winstanley, low-voltage distribution equipment program manager at NEMA. “Homeowners should think of AFCIs as a safety product, no different from a smoke alarm or an escape ladder.”
The use of AFCIs is endorsed by the U.S. Consumer Product safety Commission (CPSC) and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). For more information about arc-fault circuit interrupters, visit www.afcisafety.org

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CARLON recalls faulty floor boxes

In conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Lamson & Sessions of Cleveland, Ohio, has recalled approximately 100,000 Carlon® Drop-In Floor Boxes. The recalled floor boxes are wired incorrectly, resulting in reverse polarity which poses a shock or electrocution hazard to consumers. Lamson & Sessions has received one report of an incident with the recalled floor boxes, though no injuries have been reported.

The drop-in floor boxes subject to this recall were sold at home centers, hardware retailers and electrical distributors nationwide between January 2005 and March 2007 for about $35 each. They were sold under the Carlon® brand name and have a brass finish cover approximately 3 -1⁄2 inches in diameter.

"Carlon" is stamped into the plastic above the receptacle and the model number is located to the left of the receptacle. Model numbers E971FBDI and E971FBDIB are included in this recall.

Consumers are advised to unplug anything that is plugged into the floor box immediately and to contact Lamson & Sessions toll-free at 1-866-636-1531 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to determine if their floor box is included in the recall. Consumers with recalled units will receive a free repair.

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InBrief

OSHRC reverses multiemployer worksite doctrine

A recent decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), that general contractors aren’t liable for OSHA violations by their subcontractors, has been appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals.  For 31 years, the Multiemployer Worksite Doctrine held that contractors sharing worksites are jointly responsible for safety, with generals having primary responsibility. 

    However, OSHRC ruled that the multiemployer doctrine was unenforceable because it had never been the subject of rulemaking or regulation. Rather, it was an enforcement policy developed by successive Secretaries of Labor.  If upheld by the court, this OSHRC decision will mean that each contractor on a jobsite is responsible only for the OSHA compliance and safety of its own employees.
 
Homeland Security adopts NFPA standards

The Department of Homeland Security (HSA) recently adopted three standards published by the National Fire Protection Association that cover personal protective equipment used by first responders such as firefighters and emergency medical technicians.  The newly adopted standards are:

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