February 15, 2024

Mandatory Inspections: Navigating the shift of NFPA 70B 2023

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a pivotal force in shaping electrical safety standards in the United States.


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a pivotal force in shaping electrical safety standards in the United States. Every three to five years, they update NFPA 70B, a comprehensive set of guidelines that lays the foundation for effective Electrical Preventive Maintenance (EPM) programs. Widely applied in industrial plants, commercial buildings and large residential complexes, NFPA 70B is a critical document that influences safety decisions and dictates the frequency of electrical inspections.

In its previous iteration, NFPA 70B recommended thermography, known as “infrared scanning,” on specific electrical components such as outdoor substations, switchgear assemblies, stationary batteries, motor control equipment, busways and UPS systems. This annual thermographic inspection aimed to identify potential issues before they escalated, contributing to the overall reliability and safety of electrical systems.

2023 heralds a significant shift in electrical inspections as they are now mandatory. NFPA 70B also mandates more frequent evaluations. The latest version of the standard requires inspections for all electrical equipment at least every 12 months. Notably, equipment classified under “Equipment Physical Condition 3” is now subject to thermographic inspection at least every six months.

Condition 3 includes equipment that exhibits urgent issues identified in previous scans and specific circumstances outlined in the standard. This adjustment reflects a heightened emphasis on proactive measures promptly addressing potential risks.

These changes in NFPA 70B standards have far-reaching implications for industries reliant on electrical systems. As a leading provider of thermography tools and training, IRISS is poised to navigate the impact of these changes. We recognize the need for internal adjustments to align with the updated inspection frequencies and are actively engaging with industry experts to ensure a seamless transition.

Companies operating in the United States are urged to stay abreast of the evolving NFPA 70B standards and promptly incorporate the updated guidelines into their work practices. This proactive approach ensures compliance and safeguards against potential electrical failures and associated risks.

The NFPA 70B 2023 update reflects a commitment to advancing electrical safety standards in the United States. By mandating more frequent inspections, particularly with an increased focus on thermography, the NFPA reinforces the importance of proactive measures in maintaining the reliability and safety of electrical systems. As industry leaders, it is incumbent upon companies to embrace these changes, align their practices accordingly, and contribute to a safer electrical infrastructure.