NFPA 70: The Importance of the NEC Handbook

nec handbook NFPA 70

The NEC Handbook serves as a “bible” of electricians. It can also be helpful to those who are having electrical work done in their homes and offices. It sets the foundation for electrical safety in residential, commercial and industrial applications. The 2017 edition of the handbook is the NFPA 70. It provides the latest regulations for electrical wiring, overcurrent protection, grounding and installation of equipment. Find out more about the information the NEC handbook provides and why it is such a valuable tool for those in the electric industry.

NEC Adoption and Use

The Electrical Code Coalition works to increase focus on electrical safety through full adoption of the regulations initiated in the latest edition of the NEC handbook. It provides adoption maps of which states in the country are up-to-date on the most current NEC standards and which are in line with standards of previous year’s regulations. It also provides an adoption support kit which offers resources. This includes contact information for NFPA specialists and NEMA representatives, as well as important documents that can keep you up to date.

Electrical Codes and Standards

Electrical codes and standards are a good part of the updated information in the NEC handbook. These include Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, the NFPA Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems and the Standard on Stored Electrical Energy and Standby Power Systems. These reflect constant changes in industry needs and updated technology which may affect the ability of electricians, other technicians and employees to operate safely in the workplace.

Electrical Products and Training

People who work with electrical equipment need to receive certain certifications that will help them move forward in their career paths. Much of this is dependent on them learning the information in the NEC handbook. This isn’t always easy to learn. Therefore, the NEC offers products to facilitate the learning process.

These products allow those who are looking to learn the opportunity to interact with NFPA renowned electrical instructors in an interactive environment that will provide them with real-life situations that may develop their hands-on skills. Students will also have a chance to engage in discussions and exercises that will help them enforce their knowledge of key concepts in the handbook. They will be better able to recognize potential problems and work more safely and efficiently.

To take this sort of training one step further, the NEC also offers certification courses. These certifications help employers and contractors to see that they are hiring a skilled worker. Certifications available include those in support of NFPA electrical standards like the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems and NFPA Standard on Stored Electrical Energy Emergency and Standby Power Systems. They can give you a leg up in the competitive workplace as well as offering skills that will help you be more a more proficient and knowledgeable worker.

Changes to The NEC Handbook

As stated earlier in this article, the NEC handbook is constantly updated as it changes with new technologies. The current edition features hundreds of updates and five new articles that can help towards safer and more efficient electrical practices. Here’s some of what you can expect.

With the increased reliance on natural resources an energy source, the NEC must address the advancement of privately owned wind and solar power generation and distribution equipment. This includes the coverage of higher voltage systems that were once the domain of the utility companies. The new consumer roles that will lead to decentralization. The information gleaned from this issue will be beneficial to designers, engineers, and contractors.

Also included will be information on updates that will help protect the public and workers from deadly hazards. These include:

  • New labeling processes like a detailed arc flash hazard warning on equipment which will help workers and supervisors to assess electrical risks.
  • New minimum space clearances for equipment installation including the clarification of safeguards which are necessary to protect installers and maintenance crews.
  • Fixed Resistance and Electrode Industrial Process Heated Equipment which presents needed regulations for the industry
  • Revised provisions for AFCI and GFCI outlets which will improve electrical and fire safety in homes.

New articles include ones which provide relevant information on the following topics:

  • Large Scale Photovoltaic Electric Power Production Facility which covers systems that produce at least 5 megawatts of power, enough to provide energy to over 800 US homes
  • Energy Storage Systems which governs ESS installation, disconnection, shutdown and safety labeling
  • Stand-Alone Systems which cover power production sources not connected to the grid including PV and wind-powered systems
  • Direct Current Microgrids that concerns independent energy distribution networks that allow the utilization of power from DC sources to direct-current loads. These microgrids are on the rise worldwide

The NEC handbook not only makes changes that make for a safer and more efficient way of using installing and maintaining electrical equipment. It also updates its format to let readers know that information is updated. Look out for the following to be able to recognize updates:

  • Non-editorial changes are indicated with gray shading within sections.
  • An entire figure caption with gray shading indicates a change to an existing figure.
  • New sections, tables, and figures are indicated by a bold, italic in a gray box to the left of new material.
  • An N next to an article indicates that it is new.
  • If paragraphs have been deleted, there will be a bullet point next to where the deletion occurred.

The NEC Handbook is a very important piece of reading material to those who work with electrical equipment. It provides updates on the newest technologies and information so that work can be done safely and efficiently. It also can help workers get further in their career fields by offering valuable information and certifications. The book is available through the NFPA and various online retailers. For those who work in the electric industry, it is a very worthwhile investment.