5 Recommendations For Meeting The New Nfpa 70 B Standard

5 recommendations for meeting the new NFPA 70B standard

July 13, 2023
The long-standing recommendations are centered around the formation of an electrical maintenance plan.

In January, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) adopted the Standard for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, 70B. For more on the standard specifics, read this article. A plant is required to have an Electrical Maintenance Plan (EMP), which is required to designate an EMP coordinator, as well as personnel responsible for implementing each element of the program. For those responsible, here are some ways to start that process.

1.  It’s OK to have a staged plan.

Some industries may already have well-developed EMPs, while others have a long way to go. While each code needs to be adopted state-by-state before you would typically see an enforcement activity, other codes reference NFPA 70B already. The local authority having jurisdiction will be in charge of enforcement activities, which could be any AHJ, including local inspectors or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“NFPA 70E and 70B are typically adopted by facility owners or employers as an industry recognized method to meet the standard of care requirements in OSHA,” says Douglas Beck, business development leader for consulting and digital services at Schneider Electric. “Standards, such as NFPA 70B and 70E, which are referenced by these codes, are implemented by owners or employers as a recognized means to meet the standard of care requirements in OSHA. There are different types of AHJs and they don’t necessarily need to be a state or municipal department, but can be an organization, office or individual responsible for enforcing requirements or approving equipment or procedures. These standards are enforceable by any AHJ, including local inspectors and/or OSHA upon their publication. Additionally, insurance companies have representatives on the NFPA technical committees and may evaluate compliance to the standard during their customer audits.”

2.  Use technology; it’s a connected world.

While the standard shouldn’t supersede manufacturing recommendations for equipment maintenance, technology can be used to modify those practices. “The standard today recognizes that we are a connected world, and you can digitize your system today and use that digitization to your advantage. It allows you to take input from continuous monitoring and predictive technologies to drive your maintenance periodicities and practices,” Beck says.

3.  Make maintenance part of the business.

Living in a reactionary world won’t cut it for electrical maintenance and safety. A methodical approach to documentation planning and using digital technology for asset management will help make maintenance a foundation of the business, not a reactionary limb. “You have to figure out how to implement it into your daily operation as a piece of the business,” Beck says. “Those who mastered 70E early on figured out that the program needed to be evergreen. It needed to be an everyday part of how they work.”

4.  Digital twins provide a new level of safety.

“Using technology like an electrical digital twin, where you can do live updates to the system, know what the current working state and working conditions of that system are bring about a very different level of safety than we’ve had in the past,” Beck says.

5.  Document everything.

Documentation is the foundation of your EMP, and the new standard expanded on those requirements. “The reliability of your system really starts with that documentation,” Beck said.

About the Author

Anna Townshend | managing editor

Anna Townshend has been a journalist and editor for almost 20 years. She joined Control Design and Plant Services as managing editor in June 2020. Previously, for more than 10 years, she was the editor of Marina Dock Age and International Dredging Review. In addition to writing and editing thousands of articles in her career, she has been an active speaker on industry panels and presentations, as well as host for the Tool Belt and Control Intelligence podcasts. Email her at [email protected].

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