nfpa 70
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nfpa 70 and how it relates to field evaluations

The guideline for conducting field evaluations.

Date: 24 Mar 2023

What is nfpa 70 and how it relates to field evaluations

The National Electric Code, commonly known as NFPA 70, is a set of safety regulations governing the use of electrical equipment in both residential and commercial buildings. Developed and maintained by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), this standard has been adopted in various forms across the US and many other countries. It is designed to keep people safe from potential electric shock or fires that can be caused by the improper installation or use of electrical components.

One important aspect of NFPA 70 relates to field evaluations for electrical equipment. This involves any on-site evaluation conducted prior to installation to make sure that the device meets all applicable safety standards and other relevant regulatory requirements. Such inspections are necessary when manufacturers have specialized items that do not fit with regular production protocols, such as bespoke machinery installations.

The main purpose of field evaluations is to provide authorities with information they need in order to approve an installation. This inspection covers mainly electrical and mechanical safety aspects, making sure the product can be put into service without posing a risk of electric shock or fire hazard. Some specific checks include verifying that all cables are insulated, checking for proper grounding systems, inspecting for any visible damage, etc.


When would a field evaluation be necessary

Pre-Installation - In many cases, the manufacturer or customer will ask for a field inspection pre-installation, to get the ball rolling and ensure that there are no major kinks to work out.

Final Inspection - If the equipment is subject to strict oversight by the local municipality or other large institution or organization, Final Inspection may be the stage at which the field evaluation and labeling is expected to take place.

Red Tag - In some cases, a concern may have caused an AHJ to "red-tag" previously installed equipment. Red-tagged installations can often be quickly cleared with a field inspection that ensures the concern has been addressed.

Relocation or modifications - Previous labeled equipment that has been relocated or modified may also need a follow-up field evaluation to maintain its label.

What types of equipment are covered?

The NFPA 70 standard provides guidelines for conducting these field evaluations. It outlines the procedures for inspecting, testing, and documenting electrical equipment to ensure it meets safety requirements.

The standard covers a wide range of equipment types, including:

In addition, there are codes which concern industrial machinery installations - these cover everything from motors and generators to welders and lift tables. If certain machines require special inspection due their complexity then additional steps must be taken beyond those covered in NFPA 70 itself - often this involves obtaining approval from the local AHJ before being put into service or installing specialized equipment like remote control disconnects and short circuit protective devices.

The NFPA 70 safety standard requires the following tests for industrial machinery installations:

  • Checking all cables are insulated
  • Checking proper grounding systems
  • Inspecting for any visible damage
  • Verifying wiring methods are up to Code, such as Type UF (underground feeder) and Type NM (nonmetallic sheathed)
  • Ensuring overcurrent protection devices meet proper guidelines (e.g. fuses or circuit breakers)
  • Examining lighting outlets and receptacles
  • Obtaining approval from the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), if necessary
  • Installing specialized equipment like remote control disconnects and short circuit protective devices

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