Ensuring Electrical Safety: The Role of NFPA 70B Compliant Maintenance Programs

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Alex Gregor, PE
Electrical Engineering Practice Group Leader
May 31, 2024

Maintaining, testing, and training are important elements of a successful electrical safety program for any facility. Recent updates now mandate that these elements follow specific standards. As of 2023, NFPA 70B,The Standard for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, has transitioned from a recommendation to an enforceable standard. This means that employers must implement an electrical maintenance program (EMP), which includes personnel training, equipment surveys and analysis, and system studies, such as short circuit and arc-flash studies.

Impact on Electrical Equipment Lifetime

Every EMP should be tailored to the specific conditions and age of the facility's electrical equipment. Various factors influence the service life expectancy of this equipment, including:

  • Electrical Stresses: Overloading, harmonics, overvoltage, surges, and arcing faults
  • Environmental Factors: Humidity, moisture damage, corrosion, and heat-related damage

With a favorable environment and regular maintenance, the typical service life of an electrical panel is estimated to be 30 to 40 years. However, outdated equipment is prone to faults and may suffer from parts unavailability. Obsolete components can cause significant downtime and production losses.

Importance of Preventative Maintenance

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, electrical distribution systems rank fourth in the leading causes of fires in homes and buildings, often due to improper maintenance. Notably, 77% of these failures could be mitigated through a preventative maintenance program. Even a minor electrical failure can result in at least six hours of interruption, leading to considerable financial loss.

Customizing Your EMP

ISG offers support to customize your EMP, ensuring it meets NFPA 70B and 70E standards. Our services include:

  • Personnel Training: Ensuring your team is well-trained according to the latest standards.
  • Electrical Assessments: Evaluating your facility's electrical distribution and equipment to identify potential hazards including short circuit and arc flash studies.
  • Capital Studies and Maintenance Planning: Perform a survey of existing equipment condition, estimate remaining service life, and advise required testing intervals.
  • Detailed Reports: Providing findings, equipment replacement schedules, and cost estimates for future planning and budgeting.

Safer, More Efficient Facilities

Electrical safety is essential for protecting your facility and maintaining productivity. By adhering to NFPA 70B standards and implementing a thorough EMP, you can mitigate risks, reduce downtime, and safeguard your investments. ISG can help you develop and maintain an effective EMP tailored to your facility's needs.

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