The 2017 edition of the National Electrical Code contains updates and changes to electrical safety for residential, commercial, and industrial applications.  In total, over 1200 updates to the NEC have been made, including such areas as electrical generation and distribution, photovoltaic stations, and workplace safety.

To give you some idea of the many updates in the 2017 edition of the National Electrical Code, here are some of the most important changes.

2017 edition of the National Electrical Code, updates to the NEC

Increased Shock Protection

Shock protection updates to the NEC include expanded protection when dealing with panelboards, tamper-resistant receptacles, and ground-fault circuit-interrupters (GFCIs). Examples of such changes include:

  • 408.3(A)(2): Barrier requirements of all service panelboards.

  • 406.12: Expansion of tamper-resistant receptacles to include 250-volt nonlocking-type receptacles in areas where children might be present, including mobile homes, preschools, and elementary education facilities.

  • 210.8(B)(9) / 210.8(B)(10): GFCI protection of receptacles expanded from dwelling-unit crawl spaces or unfinished basements now includes those same locations in non-dwelling units.

  • 210.8(E): GFCI required for all crawl space lighting outlets.

  • 210.8(B): Increase of single-phase receptacles rates 150 volts to ground to include all 50 amperes or less.

Arc Flash Awareness

Improvements to Arc Flash awareness and protection is a priority in the 2017 edition of the National Electrical Code, with several updates designed to increase awareness of incident energy hazards:

  • 110.16(B): Service entrance equipment rated 1200 A and higher must be clearly labeled to show nominal system voltage, available short-circuit current, clearing time of the service overcurrent protective device based on available short-circuit current, and the date the label was applied.  A 70E-type label may be used in place of this information.

  • 240.87: Use of a device's instantaneous trip unit is an acceptable method of reducing arc energy when the arcing current is in the instantaneous region of the circuit breaker by design.

Short Circuit Current Rating

Updates to the NEC expand the equipment that requires mandatory short circuit current rating markings to include such equipment as:

  • Air conditioning & refrigeration equipment

  • Elevator control panel

  • Industrial control panels

  • Industrial machinery

  • Motor control centers

  • Motor controllers

  • Transfer equipment for critical operations power systems

  • Transfer equipment for emergency systems

  • Transfer equipment for legally required and standby systems

  • Transfer equipment for optional standby systems.

Surge Protection

The 2017 edition of the National Electrical Code expands requirements to a range of safety-related circuits, including but not limited to fire pump controllers, critical operations data systems, industrial control panels, elevators, escalators, moving walkways, lifts, and disconnects supplying emergency system loads.

Emergency Systems

Changes to the maintenance requirement of emergency systems have been made to ensure systems are maintained according to industry standards and manufacturers.

The updates covered here represent only a cursory examination of the new edition of the NEC. TPC Trainco’s intensive two-day seminar on the 2017 National Electrical Code will help your maintenance staff understand how changes to the code apply to your specific facility.