As I mentioned in my previous blog post, OSHA’s “Fatal Four” Safety Hazards: Job-Site Safety (Part 1), electrocution is serious business, and a real hazard to people and property. To safeguard against electrical dangers, NEC (National Electrical Code) was developed. This code, established and published by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), outlines important nationwide guidelines governing safety around electrical design, installation, and inspection.
5 Changes to 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC)
I came across an interesting article on EC&M that outlines 20 changes to 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC). In this article, EC&M teamed up with NEC Consultant, Mike Holt, to outline the crucial changes made during this NEC revision cycle. I’ve paraphrased and summarized the content (below) for your reference.
To start, here are 5 NEC changes you should know about:
1. Selective Coordination
This revision to NEC isn’t earth shattering, but it provides much-needed clarification around the selective coordination process. The people that handle wiring need to know what they’re doing, and complex procedures like selective coordination should be clearly defined. NEC now states that selective coordination includes all currents from overloads to short circuits, and the design must be created by an engineer (or equally qualified person.) Selective coordination isn’t a walk in the park, and circuit breakers add a layer of complication. Many jurisdictions have created legal definitions of selective coordination by assigning a numerical value to the time involved to clear a fault. This allows for a greater range of products within an installation. Selective coordination is intended to apply to the full range of currents—not just overloads, but ground faults and short circuits too.
To increase overall safety and reduce the risk of injury, NEC now includes best practice when it comes to creating and affixing hazard labels in the field. Key manufacturer information (name, trademark, etc.) must be affixed to all electrical equipment, and markings must be provided (like voltage, current, wattage, or other ratings). Warning labels also need to hold up in tough environments. (No one needs a peeled-off warning label. Enough said.)
2. Field Applied Warning Labels
Outdoor equipment is now subject to the same dedicated equipment space requirements as indoor equipment, and changes have been made to the requirements for door hardware for large equipment.Arc flash or blast events can lead to serious burns, especially to the hands. Can you imagine opening a door with scorched hands? (Personally, I prefer coffee to jolt myself awake.) Burns are a real hazard, and panic hardware must be installed where it’s needed to keep everyone safe. We all make mistakes, and there’s no room for a tough-guy attitude when it comes to job-site safety. This rule, like all others within NEC, was designed to protect people from undue risk.
3. Dedicated Equipment Space
NEC eased up on rules for grouping ungrounded and neutral conductors of multi-wire branch circuits. In a nutshell, the ungrounded and neutral conductors of a multi-wire branch circuit must be grouped together at the point of origin. Grouping isn’t a requirement when circuit conductors are confined to a single raceway or cable unique to that circuit, or if the conductors have circuit number tags on them. With this NEC change, it’s suggested that placing circuit number tags on the neutral conductors is a suitable replacement for cable ties.
4. Multi-Wire Branch Circuits
To reduce the hazard of electricity-related safety concerns, NEC tightened up on requirements for Ground Fault Circuit Interruption (GFCI) protection across residential, commercial, and industrial settings. For example, receptacles installed in a number of areas within residential units must be GFCI protected, including receptacles installed in or around laundry areas, sinks, shower stalls, and bathtubs, to name a few.
5. GFCI Protection
Over to You
What’s your take on the changes to 2014 NEC? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below or connecting with us on Twitter @GraybarESP.
About The Author
Todd Reed, National Market Manager
Husband to a professionally-licensed architectural engineer and lighting designer, and son-in-law to an electrician, Todd knows the importance of efficiency, safety, and productivity for electrical contractors. Todd is a seasoned professional, with 5 years’ experience within a family-owned distribution business, and 10 years as a Graybar employee. As National Market Manager at Graybar, Todd’s goal is to find the best products and solutions to help contractors work more efficiently, stay safe on the job, and win more productive and profitable business.
Sources & Credits
U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
EC&M: Top 20 Changes in the 2014 NEC