New Addition of BICSI’s Outside Plant Design Reference Manual Released


The publication includes new standards, codes, and best practices.

BICSI, the association advancing the information and communications technology (ICT) community, has published a new edition of the Outside Plant Design Reference Manual (OSPDRM).

Written by OSP subject matter experts, the manual focuses on outside plant properties, with the detailed information contained applicable to all projects large and small. In addition to covering traditional infrastructure subjects such as cabling and pathways, the OSPDRM also covers items not typically found within interior design work, such as right-of-way, permitting and service restoration.

The 6th Edition of OSPDRM includes updates and additional information on:

• Passive optical networks (PON)

• Aerial installation of all dielectric self-supporting cable (ADSS)

• Maintenance and restoration of OSP

• Radio frequency over glass (RFoG) specific to OSP fiber optic installations

• Additional excavation methods for direct-buried cable and pathways (i.e., vacuum, hydro-vac, and air nozzle)

• New storm loading requirements for aerial OSP design that includes the U.S. Warm Islands Zone per requirements in 2017 NESC

• Updated OM5 optical fiber cable type

• Project management information and geographic information systems (GIS)

• Air-assisted cable installation for OSP cable runs

• Changes resulting from the issuance of the 2017 edition of the NESC concerning clearances and grounding/bonding requirements

More information on the OSPDRM, 6th edition, can be found here.


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Job Safety Planning and the 2018 NFPA 70E

A properly designed and executed job safety plan gives workers a practical tool to help ensure they make it home safely every day.

Planning for safety isn’t new to the electrical trade. Guidelines to conduct a job hazard analysis (JHA) for each individual job were first published by OSHA in 1989, and have since been regularly revised. However, complying with the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E “Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace” requires the completion of an in-depth “job safety plan,” probably in more detail than what most employers and electrical workers may conduct today.

Job Safety Planning 1
Job safety planning requires inspection of this transfer switch prior to performing maintenance. In addition to recording information from the arc flash warning label, the worker inspects the condition of the equipment to ensure it is suitable for normal operation.

Some workplaces use generic forms, often referred to as a job safety analysis (JSA), for identifying hazards and determining methods to mitigate those hazards. Whether referred to as a JSA, JHA, or other company-specific term, the objective is the same: Provide a structured method for workers to recognize hazards and identify the choices they will make to protect themselves from those hazards.

New NFPA 70E requirements

The 2018 edition of NFPA 70E contains new requirements for the worker to analyze the critical steps of the electrical job, assess the electrical hazards associated with those steps, and then determine how they will protect themselves. Prior to this edition of the standard, there was no requirement for workers to perform such a detailed risk assessment. This new requirement for a job safety plan must also be reviewed as part of the required job briefing. Should a change in work scope occur during the course of the job, the job safety plan must be revised as needed, and an additional job briefing must occur to reflect any change. Remember, the purpose of the job safety plan is to have the qualified electrical worker review each step of the job they are to perform, determine how safe it is to perform that particular task, and what actions are needed to ensure they will be protected.

OSHA Part 1926 “Safety and Health Regulations for Construction” requires the person in charge of the job to conduct a job briefing. Rules for job briefings have appeared in NFPA 70E since 1995. However, there is no reasonable assurance that the properly conducted job briefing itself will identify all electrical hazards. To ensure hazards are properly addressed, the job safety plan requires:

  • The employee in charge, who must also be a “qualified person,” is responsible to complete the job safety plan and job briefing.
  • The job safety plan must be documented.
  • The plan must include both a “shock risk assessment” and an “arc flash risk assessment.”
  • The plan must identify work procedures involved, special precautions to be taken, and the energy source controls for the equipment undergoing work.

Both shock risk assessments and arc flash risk assessments require the electrical hazards be identified and the likelihood of the occurrence and potential severity of any potential injury be considered. Once this information regarding the hazards is identified, any specific protective measures needed are determined. As expected, the assessments must be documented.

Completing the job safety plan

NFPA 70E doesn’t specify an exact type of job safety plan form be used for documentation. It is expected that companies will review and modify (as applicable) their own JSA, JHA, or similar documents used to plan work. The key points of the document is that each critical step of the job is analyzed for electrical hazards, and logical decisions are made to protect workers based on items such as use of work procedures, PPE, or other special precautions. In some cases, it may be identified that a particular step may not be completed safely at all, and other means, such as lockout/tagout must be used.

Informative Annex F Risk Assessment and Risk Control has been expanded for the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E to help companies and workers with the process of risk assessment. While different methods of job safety planning are mentioned, the concept of using a “risk assessment matrix” is typical for many organizations. A basic example of such a matrix is provided in the Annex. For a risk assessment matrix that assigns a risk code to each critical step see the Sample Risk Code Matrix.


Workers who do not normally complete such detailed job safety plans may object to the complexity of the new requirements. It can be argued that determining the likelihood of an occurrence, or the potential severity of an injury, is subjective. Routine tasks are just that — routine, and should not require any special planning.

There is always a learning curve to any new process. Job safety plans can be streamlined for many jobs. Individual work steps should already be incorporated as part of a standard work or maintenance procedure. But when it comes to routine work, warning flags should go up. Human performance studies indicate such work can be more dangerous than tasks performed less often.

There’s a reason for proper job safety planning. Electrical accidents may not occur as often as other types of incidents, but they have much higher fatality rates. They typically happen in a fraction of a second, and the results can be disabling injuries/fatalities. Thinking about the job to be performed, what could go wrong, and how to best protect oneself before the job begins are effective methods of reducing risks to workers.

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Grid-edge technologies vulnerable to cyber threats

solar tech

  • Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEE Institute) has issued a new report focused on cybersecurity challenges on a distributed grid, identifying key hurdles and best practices the group says state and federal policy makers will need to address to ensure a secure power system.
  • Among the recommendations is the development of a short list of "mandatory and standardized requirements" that could be implemented at little to no expense, and for cybersecurity to be embedded as part of standard security practices impacting manufacturers.
  • The utility industry has stepped up its focus on cybersecurity in recent years as threats have become more sophisticated and persistent. This month, two new widespread cybersecurity vulnerabilities have been identified, with solar inverters in particular at possible risk.

Securing the electric grid is a complicated challenge that becomes even more difficult as more resources are connected and the system becomes increasingly reliant on flows of data.

Lisa Frantzis, a senior vice president at Advanced Energy Economy, said the industry must prepare for "new vulnerabilities" as the grid evolves.

“As we transition to more advanced and intelligent technologies that improve our energy system and benefit customers, we must take into account and prepare for new vulnerabilities to the security of our nation’s energy infrastructure,” Frantzis said in a statement announcing the new report.

The paper focuses on several areas, including: cybersecurity threats to the economy and energy sector; best practices for a distributed, intelligent grid; cybersecurity policy and regulatory frameworks at the state and national level; and protective measures and protocols for grid operators.

According to the report, cybersecurity for grid-edge devices creates new challenges, in part due to their limited capabilities. Such devices are "high in number and limited in bandwidth, memory, and storage space," the report notes. "As a result, standard industry solutions for other technology areas such as malware protection, file integrity monitoring, firewalls, and whitelisting, have not been viable for edge devices."

Network infrastructure has also had similar limitations, AEE added. Kenneth Lotterhos, managing director of energy at Navigant Consulting, said in a statement that recent events show that the level of cyber threats is "increasing and targeting a broader range of assets, including advanced distributed energy technologies and smart grid applications."

Specialized applications for edge devices and critical network infrastructure have been developed in the past, the report notes, "but they have not been widely adopted." While some of that has been related to cost and complexity, AEE Institute also says that until recently there has been a perception that the threat was relatively low.

That perception has changed significantly in recent years, and cybersecurity is now a major focus of the industry.

A 2015 attack on Ukraine resulted in widespread power outages, serving as a wakeup call. Last summer, cybersecurity firm Dragos issued a report concluding the malware used in that attack could be modified by developers to target the United States.

The newest vulnerabilities identified, possibly impacting solar inverters, are known as Spectre and Meltdown, and leverage processing techniques known as speculative execution and caching, in order to access data that should be off limits.

One problem thus far, however, is that patches to address the vulnerability are significantly slowing down operating systems. The features Spectre and Meltdown attack were created to speed up computer processors, and plugging the leak has resulted in performance slowdowns of up to 30%.

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See the origial article at: https://www.utilitydive.com/news/aee-grid-edge-technologies-vulnerable-to-cyber-threats/515138/

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Learn What's Next in Electrical Safety

electrical safety

Experts Hugh Hoagland and Lanny Floyd will share their insights on the future of electrical safety contained in NFPA 70E, NESC, IEEE 1584, IEC, NEC, and the ASTM Arc Flash Test Methods in a free OH&S webinar on Jan. 24. They'll reveal the future of electrical PPE, Safety-by-Design, Human Performance Factors, Risk Control Measures, and Continuous Improvement Models in a one-hour webinar Jan. 24.

Two electrical safety experts, Hugh Hoagland and Lanny Floyd, will share their insights on the future of electrical safety that's already contained in NFPA 70E, NESC, IEEE 1584, IEC, NEC and the ASTM Arc Flash Test Methods in a free OH&S webinar on Jan. 24. They'll reveal the future of electrical PPE, Safety-by-Design, Human Performance Factors, Risk Control Measures, and Continuous Improvement Models in this one-hour webinar starting at 2 p.m Eastern time.

Visit this page to register for their webinar, titled "The Future of Electrical Safety." >

Hoagland is one of the most active trainers and researchers in electric arc protection. His NFPA 70E and OSHA 1910.269/NESC Training Programs are used by many Fortune 500 companies and governmental agencies including Alcoa, GM, Toyota, Bechtel, DOE, and hundreds of electric utilities. He has performed and developed testing (by original research and participation in ASTM, NFPA, ANSI, CSA, IEC and ISO standards groups) for the electric arc since 1994 and has performed more than 50,000 electric arc tests.

H. Landis "Lanny" Floyd, PE, CSP, CESCP, CMRP, CRL, Life Fellow IEEE, joined DuPont in 1969 and retired at the end of 2014 as Principal Consultant - Electrical Safety & Technology and Global Electrical Safety Competency Leader. The last 30 years of his DuPont career focused on electrical safety in construction, operation and maintenance of DuPont facilities worldwide. He had responsibility for improving management systems, competency renewal, work practices, and application of technologies critical to electrical safety performance in all DuPont operations. He has authored or co-authored more than 70 papers and articles and has given more than 150 presentations at conferences, seminars, and webcasts in his work to advance the practice of electrical safety, as well as providing technical leadership in development of codes and standards, including the National Electrical Code, the Canadian Electrical Code, NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, CSA Z462 Workplace Electrical Safety, and IEEE 902 Guide for Maintenance, Operation and Safety of Industrial and Commercial Power Systems. In 2013, he joined the faculty of the Advanced Safety engineering and Management program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he developed and teaches a graduate engineering course in Electrical Systems Safety.

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Final Tax Legislation Will Benefit the Construction Industry

tax reform Nerthuz iStock Thinkstock 887564224 0

Final measure included a number of key improvements after the AGC waged an aggressive education and outreach effort targeting key members of congress

Stephen E. Sandherr, the CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, recently released the following statement regarding final passage of federal tax reform:

"Today, Congress passed comprehensive tax reform legislation that will lower rates, spur economic growth and impact construction businesses for years to come. However, this process did not start as well as it ended for the construction industry.

"Initially, the tax reform bill provided little relief for many construction firms organized as pass-throughs, such as S-corps, limited liability corporations and partnerships; eliminated Private Activity Bonds, essential to the financing of transportation infrastructure, low-income housing and other public construction and public-private partnership projects; and repealed the Historic Tax Credit, critical to the private construction market for the rehabilitation and renovation of historic buildings.

"AGC continued to fight for a better outcome for the construction industry by undertaking a rigorous direct lobbying campaign. Our efforts included connecting construction company CFOs and CPAs with tax writers, and generating thousands of pro-construction messages from members to key legislators. Our efforts helped convince members of Congress to ultimately reduce the corporate rate by 14 points; lower individual and pass through rates; double the estate and gift tax exclusion to $11 million; ensure the tax-exempt status of Private Activity Bonds remained untouched; and prevent full repeal of the Historic Tax Credit.

"That stated, there is still much work to be done in our nation's capital in the New Year. Though Congress missed an opportunity to address the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund via tax reform, we remain focused on ensuring that this administration keeps its promise to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. And, we are committed to efforts to modernize multiemployer pension plans for the future, among other priorities for the industry.


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