Adoption of 2008 National Electrical Code Gains Momentum

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Public officials in several states have embraced new safety standards, voting to adopt the 2008 National Electrical Code® (NEC) with minimal or no amendments, and America’s heartland has taken the lead on acceptance.

The Code is scheduled to take effect in Arkansas, Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming within the next two months; enforcement began in North Dakota and in several Illinois jurisdictions April 1.

Though not in the Midwest, New Mexico accepted theCodefor July enforcement, and it’s already been implemented in Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon and parts of Alabama. Additionally,Codeenforcement is scheduled to commence by the beginning of 2009 in Texas, Iowa and Utah.

The governing bodies from each of these states have accepted theNECwith Article 406.11 intact, requiring the majority of all 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere electrical outlets (receptacles) in new residential construction to be tamper-resistant receptacles.

Tamper-resistant receptacles have built-in shutter systems that prevent children from inserting foreign objects into the outlets, but cord caps can be inserted and removed just as with standard devices. Unlike plastic outlet caps, which can be removed or forgotten, tamper-resistant receptacles offer automatic, continuous and permanent protection against electrical burns.

Codeadoption marks a great advancement for child electrical safety. According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data, approximately 2,400 children suffer electrical injuries each year-about seven children every day-from inserting metal objects into electrical outlets.

“While change sometimes creates uncertainty, these states have adopted the Code with few or no objections,” said Jeff Fecteau, Midwest field representative for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). “We commend these public officials for acknowledging home electrical hazards and the need for greater safety measures.”

NEMA has advocated Code adoption through its Real Safety campaign, generating awareness about Code requirements and educating audiences on child electrical dangers. Web site: www.childoutletsafety.org.