OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.

November 4, 2004

Mr. Bob Mitchell
Director of Risk Management
VF Jeanswear, Inc
P.O. Box 21488
Greensboro, NC 27420-1488

Dear Mr. Mitchell:

Thank you for your August 23, 2004 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. You had a question regarding the relationship between OSHA standards and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces. You also had questions and comments related to the application and intent of NFPA 70E as it relates to some specific work tasks. Your paraphrased inquiries and our responses follow.

Question: Is NFPA 70E a voluntary standard and not something that OSHA enforces?

Response: OSHA approaches NFPA 70E from both a standards perspective and an enforcement perspective. From a standards perspective, OSHA views NFPA 70E as the primary consensus standard addressing electrical hazards associated with electrical utilization systems (i.e. building and other premises wiring and utilization equipment). The electrical safety-related work practices in OSHA’s general industry electrical standards in Subpart S – Electrical, are based on previous editions of NFPA 70E. Additionally, OSHA’s proposed revision of the installation requirements in Subpart S are based on Part I of the 2000 edition of NFPA 70E. Later stages of this rulemaking project will be based on other parts of NFPA 70E.

From an enforcement perspective, OSHA does not enforce NFPA 70E. OSHA enforces its own standards that relate to electrical hazards. OSHA may, however, use NFPA 70E to support citations for violations relating to certain OSHA standards, such as the general requirements for personal protective equipment found in 29 CFR 1910.335. An example of this would be consulting NFPA 70E’s Flash Hazard Boundary when considering citations for personal protective equipment under 1910.335.

Your second inquiry questioned the scope and intent of NFPA 70E. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an interpretation on any standards other than those that OSHA has This letter has not yet been fully reviewed for consistency with other interpretations posted on OSHA=s public website, and is not posted on the public site. promulgated. We would suggest contacting NFPA directly for further interpretation of their standard. NFPA can be reached at:

National Fire Protection Association
1 Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MA 02169-7471

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.

Sincerely,

Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

cc: Cindy Coe Laseter, Regional Administrator