NFPA 70 is the NEC

NFPA is also known as the National Electric Code, or NEC. The 2008 version will represent the latest release of this comprehensive electric code, and includes information on arc flash hazard identification and arc flash labeling.

NEC Document Scope

The scope of the NFPA 70 NEC is clearly outlined as follows:

Document Scope: (A) Covered. This Code covers the installation of electrical conductors, equipment, and raceways; signaling and communications conductors, equipment, and raceways; and optical fiber cables and raceways for the following: (1) Public and private premises, including buildings, structures, mobile homes, recreational vehicles, and floating buildings (2) Yards, lots, parking lots, carnivals, and industrial substations FPN to (2): For additional information concerning such installations in an industrial or multibuilding complex, see ANSI C2-2002, National Electrical Safety Code. (3) Installations of conductors and equipment that connect to the supply of electricity (4) Installations used by the electric utility, such as office buildings, warehouses, garages, machine shops, and recreational buildings, that are not an integral part of a generating plant, substation, or control center. (B) Not Covered. This Code does not cover the following: (1) Installations in ships, watercraft other than floating buildings, railway rolling stock, aircraft, or automotive vehicles other than mobile homes and recreational vehicles FPN: Although the scope of this Code indicates that the Code does not cover installations in ships, portions of this Code are incorporated by reference into Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 110-113. (2) Installations underground in mines and self-propelled mobile surface mining machinery and its attendant electrical trailing cable (3) Installations of railways for generation, transformation, transmission, or distribution of power used exclusively for operation of rolling stock or installations used exclusively for signaling and communications purposes (4) Installations of communications equipment under the exclusive control of communications utilities located outdoors or in building spaces used exclusively for such installations (5) Installations under the exclusive control of an electric utility where such installations a. Consist of service drops or service laterals, and associated metering, or b. Are located in legally established easements, rights-of-way, or by other agreements either designated by or recognized by public service commissions, utility commissions, or other regulatory agencies having jurisdiction for such installations, or c. Are on property owned or leased by the electric utility for the purpose of communications, metering, generation, control, transformation, transmission, or distribution of electric energy. FPN to (4) and (5): Examples of utilities may include those entities that are typically designated or recognized by governmental law or regulation by public service/utility commissions and that install, operate, and maintain electric supply (such as generation, transmission, or distribution systems) or communication systems (such as telephone, CATV, Internet, satellite, or data services). Utilities may be subject to compliance with codes and standards covering their regulated activities as adopted under governmental law or regulation. Additional information can be found through consultation with the appropriate governmental bodies, such as state regulatory commissions, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Federal Communications Commission. (C) Special Permission. The authority having jurisdiction for enforcing this Code may grant exception for the installation of conductors and equipment that are not under the exclusive control of the electric utilities and are used to connect the electric utility supply system to the service-entrance conductors of the premises served, provided such installations are outside a building or terminate immediately inside a building wall.

Industry Preparedness

The electric industry is becoming increasingly aware of a phenomenon known as arc flash, a short circuit that passes through air between two live conductors, or between a live conductor and ground. This short circuit can be accompanied by incredible amounts of heat and pressure, and the results are often deadly. The frequency of reported incidents is on the increase, prompting increased awareness and action in the electric and safety industries.

Arc flash can be caused from something as simple as approaching a high amperage source with a conductive object. Poorly maintained equipment or sub-standard parts may also trigger an arc flash. Missing insulation, corrosion or impurities on conductors may also cause arc flash to occur.