NFPA 70B establishes the need for an Electrical Preventative Maintenance program (EPM) for all electrical equipment including Cranes!
Most people in the crane industry when asked about NFPA, they think about standards such as NFPA 70 which we know is NEC – National Electric code. Some may think of NFPA 70E which is the standard for electrical safety in the workplace. However, most people have never used or heard of NFPA 70B. Well, that is all about to change!
January 2023 was a significant month in the evolution of NFPA 70B as it transitioned from the Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance to the Standard for Electrical Equipment Maintenance. It has been 50 years since the first version of NFPA 70B was issued in 1973 as a recommended practice, which provided recommendations on what should be done. Now, the move to a standard provides more enforceability for what must be done when it comes to electrical equipment maintenance. That is a win-win for both the reliability of electrical equipment, the overall safety of the electrical systems, and those individuals tasked with working on them.
So, what is NFPA 70B and what does it cover?
According to section 1.1 Scope: This standard covers the preventive maintenance of electrical, electronic, and communications systems and equipment.
The purpose of NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, is to provide guidelines for creating an effective electrical preventive maintenance (EPM) program. NFPA 70B details what an effective EPM program consists of, why it is necessary, and how to develop a program that implements viable safety measures and maintenance methods. When properly implemented, an effective EPM program can help increase workplace safety; maintain or, in some cases, extend the life of equipment; and help to prevent losses in production which, in turn, result in lost revenue.
NFPA 70B applies to all Overhead Cranes which contain electrical and or electronic equipment. However, it is not the only standard that we need to follow when it comes to establishing an EPM. NFPA 70B covers equipment maintenance and should be used in conjunction with NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), and NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®.
While each document covers a specific area, they must be used in unison to help provide the safest electrical system possible. When the three are used in concert, and correctly, they provide for a complete electrical safety cycle. When one or more pieces are missing, it may leave the door open to catastrophic accidents—even death.
OSHA 1910.179, ASME B30 Committees and CMAA already have established rules that are very similar to NFPA 70B.
Preventive maintenance. A preventive maintenance program based on the crane manufacturer’s recommendations shall be established.
Wiring and equipment shall comply with subpart S of this part.
ASME B302-4.2.2 Preventive Maintenance – A preventive maintenance program shall be established.
Establishing a preventative maintenance program is required, and is critical to the lifecycle of all cranes and for the safety of employees that work on or operate them. NFPA 70B is just one more regulation that can be used for guidance when establishing a preventative maintenance program, specifically the EPM sections. Now that this 50-year-old recommendation is an approved standard OSHA can reference it in their clarification letters and General Duty Clause citations. This now also paves the way forward for the ASME B30 committee or CMAA to reference NFPA 70B in their publications.
QCT recommends every Electrical Overhead Traveling Crane (EOT) have a detailed EPM program. We also encourage all people who own or maintain EOT cranes to get an updated copy of the NFPA 70B standard and study them for guidance when establishing your own EPM Program.
For further information about NFPA 70B or other crane related industry standards or regulations contact us today!
- Eric Street is the Technical Director / Owner for Qualified Crane Training and Consulting LLC
- Qualified Crane Training and Consulting LLC is a provider of training and consultative services for the overhead and mobile crane industries. 1-800-704-8730 email@example.com