Proposed Code Revisions Advance Electrical Safety

Proposed Code Revisions Advance Electrical Safety

This piece was originally published in the November 2018 issue of electroindustry.

All 18 code-making panels updating the National Electrical Code® (NEC), which is published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) with input from organizations that include NEMA, met and reviewed 3,730 public inputs in January 2018. These meetings resulted in 1,406 changes (first revisions). Some of the first revisions could significantly advance electrical safety in the built environment; they will now go through NFPA’s process.

Pertinent revisions include:

  • Ground Fault Protection

Section 210.8(A) in the 2017 NEC requires ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection on 15–20 amp 125 V receptacles installed in locations specified in (A) (1) to (10). The proposed change would require GFCI protection on all 125 V through 250 V receptacles because of multiple instances where individuals were electrocuted when interacting with 250 V receptacles for dryers and range outlets.

  • Surge Protection in Dwelling Units

A new proposed requirement in 230.67(A) would require that surge protective devices (SPDs) be installed for all dwelling unit service panels. This would protect electronics and other safety devices that we see in residential structures.

  • Emergency Disconnects

This new proposed requirement in 230.85 would mandate that all dwelling units have an emergency disconnect installed outdoors at a readily accessible location. The action was taken in response to a submission by a first-responder organization. It would help protect firefighters from a potential arcing event if they had to resort to removing the electrical meter while under a load.

The code-making panels’ task groups also discussed the 1,932 public comments that were submitted in January in response to the panel’s actions. Overall code-making panel meetings were scheduled to run from October 21 to November 3, 2018.

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