Electrical Testing
Tip of the Week: When it Comes to Safety, Maintenance is Not an Option

Tip of the Week: When it Comes to Safety, Maintenance is Not an Option

Chapter 2 of NFPA 70E advocates proper maintenance, but is not meant to be a maintenance guide.

Chapter 2 of NFPA 70E consists of 11 Articles, all of which are devoted to the idea that maintenance is a safety issue. Anyone who’s worked with electrical equipment for very long knows that poorly maintained equipment isn’t safe. The problem is convincing the spreadsheet people in the central corporate office that such things as “deferred maintenance” are euphemisms for “getting people hurt because you squeezed too many pennies out of the budget.”

Most of the Chapter 2 Articles repeat the same theme: “Equipment X must be maintained to do what Equipment X is supposed to do.” And they are really short; Chapter 2 takes up only four pages. However, Chapter 2 is not meant to be a maintenance guide; it doesn’t prescribe specific procedures [200.1] or identify mandatory maintenance practices. The Informational Note under 200.1 does list some applicable industry standards; however, there are many more.

Mostly what Chapter 2 does is emphasize a few key maintenance concepts, such as pointing out that those who perform the maintenance must be qualified to do so [205.1]. It also mandates keeping a current single-line diagram, a resource that’s essential for proper electrical maintenance. But the primary benefit of Chapter 2 is that it very clearly takes maintenance out of the “optional” column where it has never belonged, and properly highlights it as the safety issue that it is.

(promotional image courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

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