NEMA Puts Safety First

NEMA Puts Safety First

This piece was originally published in the May 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Kevin J. Cosgriff, President and CEO, NEMA

Foremost among NEMA values is the safe manufacture of products that integrate cutting edge technology with relentless quality control. From regulation to legislation and from public relations to public education, NEMA members demonstrate that safety is a daily priority for the industry. That’s no accident.

Safety is a state of mind. When applied systematically, it protects the factory worker, electrician, consumer, and environment. It begins with the design and continues through end-of-service activities such as recycling.

The most direct and longest-running safety-related practice at NEMA is the publication and maintenance of more than 500 technical performance and interoperability standards for electrical equipment. NEMA also collaborates with other standards developing organizations to draft and update safety standards that are incorporated in installation and building codes.

The electroindustry is also active in shaping policy through promoting state and local adoption of the National Electrical Code® (NEC). This national model sets the minimum standards for the proper installation of electrical systems and equipment. NEMA advocates for a three-year NEC adoption cycle to coincide with the code’s revision cycle. Delaying adoption leaves the consumer behind the documented, technically sound, minimum requirements for safe electrical installations.

Individual NEMA sections also directly shape safety policy. For example, over the last 20 years, the Dry Battery Section has worked with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other stakeholders to mitigate the risk of ingestion of small “button cell” batteries by educating consumers, the medical community, and battery-powered equipment manufacturers on safe use. Additionally, NEMA provides essential funding to the National Capitol Poison Center to collect and analyze data on ingestion.

Our member-derived commitment to environmentally conscious design spans the last decade. We leveraged the industry’s wide-ranging perspectives and technical expertise to create a baseline from which to advocate for sensible regulatory solutions, all the while promoting compliance with environmental rules with direct human safety implications.

As a founding member of the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), we encourage its mission to promote the safe use of electrical products across the entire spectrum of electrical use. Highly regarded by government, industry, media, and other safety stakeholders, ESFI often shapes policy through public opinion. It advances its goals through education, awareness, and advocacy campaigns. If you are not participating in ESFI, I strongly encourage you to do so.

While the NEMA staff plays an important role in safety, member companies do the heavy lifting. They tirelessly develop and build safe and reliable electrical equipment.

Hats off to the NEMA companies for putting safety first all day, every day.

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