ASTM/NAIL Meeting - Electrical Safety Standards

The American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services. Over 12,800 ASTM Standards operate globally. 2023 marks the 125th anniversary of ASTM International. 

During ASTM’s October 2023 Committee Week at the Washington DC Hilton, I attended the committee meetings that focused on the standards for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for electrical workers. All in attendance were part of the electrical industry in one way or another, each member sharing a passion for the protection of electrical workers in the industry. During the meetings, competitors in the business world became allies with a common purpose of user safety.

The electrical PPE committee develops test methods, specifications, practices, and definitions for Electrical PPE for workers, and has been doing so for the past 50 years. The committee is dedicated to producing the standards the industry uses. It promotes knowledge and research relating to tools, materials and equipment used by a worker or group of workers for protection from electrical hazards. As a participant in this group, I can confidently say the passion of the committee is very deep, and conversations always revolve around the safety of those who will use the equipment.

The Committee for Electrical Protective Equipment for Workers was formed in 1974. It boasts a membership of 308, and currently has jurisdiction of over 48 standards published in the Annual Book of ASTM Standards. These standards have and continue to play a preeminent role in the protection of the electrical worker. Changes that are discussed during these meetings focus on advancement of safety and how things can be made, tested, and modified to increase the safety for the end user. During these meetings there are many enthusiastic conversations about the standards. There’s a lot of collaboration on improving the testing standards for items and adding standards for some of the latest products on the market. It often takes a long time to update or add something new, but that’s because every word in every document is covered to ensure the intent of each standard can be understood and interpreted correctly. With the advancement of technology, the topic is always evolving so discussions and changes are continuous.  

North American Independent Laboratories (NAIL) For Protective Equipment Testing

Following the ASTM Committee meetings, the North American Independent Laboratories (NAIL) organization gathered. NAIL is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the exchange of information regarding test procedures for electrical workers’ personal protective equipment. NAIL for PET is the only accredited program for electrical equipment test labs in the US and Canada.  Manufacturers, including Honeywell Salisbury, were invited to discuss partnerships with them. The President of Honeywell PPE, Michael Garceau, attended to discuss changes we are making to requests from our partners and about products that we are bringing to the market in 2024. 

Russ Owen, CUSP is the Senior Application/System Sales Engineer at Honeywell Salisbury.