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Changes in the National Electric Code: What Do Your Employees Need to Know?


Changes in the National Electric Code: What Do Your Employees Need to Know?

No matter what industry you are in, it is hard to get very far in business before you bump up against the National Electric Code (NEC). Manufacturing, construction, and the telecommunications industry treat it as their manual, but as many other sectors have become more dependent upon information technology it has become more prominent than ever in the day-to-day operation of companies of all sizes. It is crucial for all employees who work with electrically powered equipment and components be fully versed on the NEC for both purposes of safety and efficiency.

What is the National Electric Code?

The National Electric Code (NEC) is a publication that outlines the standards for the safe installation, operation, maintenance, and initialization of electrical wiring in the United States. It is highly concerned with the prevention of injuries, fires, and other ill effects of improperly installed electrical systems. While the publication is not a federal law, it is regionally adoptable and may carry the force of law in your state or municipality.

The intention of the publication is to mandate areas of common agreement regarding what technically accurate standards should be for local entities to enforce. It is constantly revised on a semi-annual basis to document changes in the industry and the latest innovation in electrical technology.

The Importance of Employees Observing NEC Standards

While a local government may be observing codes that can be drastically different from the NEC, knowledge of the standards and best practices of the NEC are crucial for all electricians, low-voltage workers, and electrical maintenance professionals. Failure to adhere to these standards, whether or not they are strictly enforced, can be disastrous.

The NEC is not only a good instruction for new installations but a great guideline for updating older electrical systems that may have undiagnosed problems in their previous installations.

What Has Changed in the Most Recent NEC?

There are vast differences in the National Electric Code between the 2014 edition and the 2017 edition. Up to 1200 publication revisions were instituted taking into account over 4000 submissions from public and private entities in the electrical industry. These changes include standards for labeling of equipment for safety purposes, more specificity for voltage warnings, and higher requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE).

One of the most notable changes involve guidelines for recent innovations in renewable energy such as solar power generation and wind turbines. The changes are aimed at not only making installation and operation of electrical equipment safer, but in protecting employers from lawsuits, OSHA fines, and other legal ramifications. It cannot only save lives but preserve reputations and profitability. The recent changes to NEC standards will not only affect your future plans for installations but also impact the way that past work is inspected and evaluated.

How a Company Can Keep Up With NEC Changes

It is vitally important that you keep a current copy of the NEC available for your employees to review, but it may be necessary to enroll them in a course that covers these changes. You may already have employees who are fully appraised of the NEC 2014 edition, but even the most knowledgeable of your employees may not yet have reviewed the changes in the 2017 edition.

For these employees, a refresher course may be in order. For new hires, you may have to enroll them in a more comprehensive course as you have no idea how closely their previous employers enforced NEC standards. It is best to be safe than sorry in this instance, as the consequences of substandard training can be dire.

Electrical safety is more important than ever. Are you interested in safety training that can help your employees operate with more safety and efficiency? Our electrical safety seminars can help you achieve and maintain a safer workplace. Contact NTT Training ASAP for more information on our 2017 NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CODE® seminar.

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