NFPA 70B Committee Report

David Huffman Specifications & Standards, Spring 2020 Specifications & Standards`

The NFPA Committee met in Boston in September. The meeting began with confirmation that the 70B maintenance guide would be rewritten into a maintenance standard. There had been previous discussion regarding whether to make it a recommended practice, using the word “should” in the verbiage, or to make it a standard, using the word “shall.”

There are differences between a recommended practice and a standard, namely enforceability. NETA’s testing specifications, as a standard, provide the electrical testing industry with a comprehensive resource on what “shall” be done to assure the safety and reliability of electrical power equipment and systems. NFPA is in the process of converting their long-standing NFPA 70B from a recommended practice to a standard.

This is great move forward by the NFPA, as it will put the electrical trifecta — NFPA 70, National Electrical Code; NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace; and NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance — all working hand-in-hand to create a more cohesive interaction between the documents.

NETA’s Standards Review Council spent a great deal of time at their October meeting in collaboration with other NFPA 70B committee members to craft language within certain 70B chapters that address testing and maintenance of various pieces of electrical equipment. This was an extremely productive meeting, and the results were well received by the 70B committee at large during the regularly scheduled conference calls. These conference calls resume in January in an ongoing effort to move the document to a designation of “standard.”

The next in-person meeting will take place in San Antonio, Texas, from March 30–April 2, 2020.

David Huffman has been with Power Systems Testing, a NETA Accredited Company, since January 1988 and is currently CEO. He graduated from California State University, Fresno, and is a licensed Professional Electrical Engineer in the state of California as well as a NETA Level IV Certified Technician. David is a NETA board member, NETA’s Principal Representative to the NFPA 70B Committee, and serves as a member of various NETA committees.