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IAEI Magazine | Author: Philip Cox
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Philip Cox

Former IAEI Executive Director, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief for the IAEI News, Philip Cox was formerly employed with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association as a field representative covering a 17-state area. He is a member of NFPA NEC Technical Correlating Committee. He served on Code-Making Panel No. 6, representing IAEI during the Code cycles for the 1984 and 1987 editions of the NEC. He served as chairman of CMP-1, representing the National Electrical Manufacturers Association during the 1996 cycle. He served as acting chairman of CMP-1, representing IAEI for the 1999 cycle and remains as a member of that panel for the 2002 Code cycle. He is a member of NFPA Electrical Section; and former member of UL Electrical Council, ITS Technical Advisory Council, The Chauncey Group International Board of Governors for the National Certification Program for Construction Code Inspectors, and the IEC United States National Committee Executive Committee. He also served as chief electrical inspector for the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, and was secretary to the Little Rock Electrical Examining Board, developing and administering examinations for master, journeyman and specialty electricians. He was appointed as electrical safety coordinator for the Arkansas Department of Labor and administered the Arkansas state electrical licensing law. Cox is past president of the Western Section, IAEI, and served on the IAEI Board of Directors as board member and fifth vice president. He has been involved in the development and presentation of IAEI training programs on both chapter and international level.


12 Winning Traits of a Good Electrical Inspector

A combination of traits and associated technical training and experience should help produce an individual highly qualified in the profession of electrical inspection. When one is truly professional as an electrical inspector in both conduct and performance, he or she not only brings greater respect to the industry but also makes it easier for other members of the electrical community to do their jobs.

A Personal View

A successful organization must be capable of adjusting to meet changing circumstances. The IAEI has been able to meet challenges placed on it and to grow within the electrical industry, especially in the area of electrical safety. While not having the resources to meet every challenge it faces or to address every need it recognizes, the organization has progressed to become an important part of the electrical safety community. This has been made possible by hard work and leadership provided by many key people in the organization as well as the support and participation of other faithful and dedicated members.

Meet the New CEO/Executive Director

It is a pleasure to introduce James Carpenter as the new chief executive officer and executive director of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. In many cases, the outgoing person has reservations regarding the one who assumes his or her position. That are no such reservations in this transition and it is felt that the search committee made an excellent choice in the selection of Jim Carpenter and the entire IAEI Board of Directors strongly supports his appointment. Many within the electrical industry already know Jim and his proven record of achievements and those who do not know him or of his work will soon understand his value to the IAEI.

Supporters of the IAEI

The IAEI is fortunate to have many supporters who willingly give of themselves to help the organization do its work better. With ever increasing cost to operate and to provide services to both members and customers, it is difficult to find the resources to do everything that should be done.

Importance of Safety

The misuse of electrical energy can be dangerous to both people and property. Electrical equipment and systems installed, used, and maintained correctly have a proven record of safety. It is the misapplication and abuse of electrical equipment and materials that primarily create hazards. Not only during May, the designated Electrical Safety Month, but also every day of the year, attention should be given to promoting the safe use of electricity. All users of electrical products should become more aware of the need for their being alert for and being capable of recognizing many common electrical hazards.

Another Step Forward

The electronic age has opened the way to an exciting world involving advanced methods of communications. What was once thought to be science fiction or unrealistic dreams is now reality. The feverish pace being experienced in the electronic or informational technology industry is difficult for many to understand well, much less to become skilled in its use. Improvements in computer hardware and software are constantly being made and users are at the mercy of those changes. By the time a new computer is purchased and put into use, it is likely that a newer and more advanced model is already being produced.

Involvement in and Commitment to the IAEI

The International Association of Electrical Inspectors is fortunate to have some outstanding leaders and workers within its membership. Many work quietly and are hardly noticed, even by fellow members within their own chapter. Occasionally, a letter is received by the International Office from a member who feels that the IAEI is not providing enough services to justify the amount of dues paid. A far greater number of members acknowledge the fact that the IAEI News alone is worth more than the cost of membership.

Importance of IAEI Membership to Manufacturers

Electrical inspectors demonstrate support of electrical manufacturers and feel they are an integral part of the team dedicated to providing an environment in which consumers can safely use electrical energy. In keeping with that objective, many of these manufacturers have traditionally been and continue to be an important part of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors membership. Many actively participate in section and chapter meetings. Some of those individuals are often involved in code discussion panels and technical presentations and contribute in many other ways to the betterment of the organization and industry. Their involvement is an asset to the IAEI and in its effort to promote electrical safety.

Dedicated Equipment Space

Provisions in the National Electrical Code covering dedicated space about electrical equipment have experienced a significant degree of modification through the last three Code cycles. In addition, rules covering that space have been relocated from Article 384 to Article 110. The relocation occurred during the 1999 Code cycle and previously identified Section 384-4 was re-identified as 110-26(f). A new title "Dedicated Equipment Space” was also assigned to the relocated set of rules covering indoor installations. Code Making Panel No. 9 has responsibility for Article 384 and changes made during the revision and relocation of 384-4 to 110-26(f) were the result of CMP-9’s actions.

A Response to Tragedy

The IAEI Northwestern Section Annual meeting was in progress on September 11, 2001, when the attack on America occurred. That date will remain imprinted on our minds, and the mental images of the crash of the airliners into the World Trade Center and the subsequent collapse of the two buildings are still vivid. The initial shock and the following realization of what had actually occurred in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington, and in a rural area of Pennsylvania, had an immediate impact on the feelings of those attending the section meeting. Recognizing that foreign terrorists had actually attacked the United States and seeing the destruction of those buildings brought stark reality into focus. The somber mood that followed drained many of the desire to continue the meeting, but the strength and resolve of those present overcame the shock and with that came the recognition that in order for America to maintain its freedom and its quality of life, we must continue to move forward.

The 2002 National Electrical Code

Work on the 2002 National Electrical Code has been completed. Those using the NEC will find a significant difference in the new edition. It is likely to take some adjustments to become fully familiar with the new Code. Considerable effort has been made to make the new 2002 NEC more user friendly. It is the result of work done by a large number of people, and it focuses on several areas to improve the ease of use of the Code.

Preparing for the New Code

The 2002 National Electrical Code brings changes to the industry. Adopting provisions to keep up with advancing technology and recognizing that many existing safety rules have to be modified to address specific situations require reexamination of existing Code rules on a regular basis. The Code development process needs the participation of experts in the field as well as general users of the document to identify and implement necessary changes. That process has been followed for the 2002 edition of the NEC, and the challenge now present is for users to become familiar with the new and revised safety rules.

Promoting Electrical Safety: The Role of the Electrical Inspector

The month of May is designated as Electrical Safety Month. Stress is placed on promoting safe electrical practices and educating the public on how to properly use electricity. Our lives are significantly affected by the availability and use of electricity and the quality of life has been made so much better for us because of that form of energy. It has not been many decades ago that most people cooked on wood or coal stoves, used kerosene lamps for lighting, washed their clothing by hand, had no air conditioning, had no television sets, and did not have computers. Modern conveniences made possible because of the availability of electricity are commonplace and it seems that we take them for granted.

Yes, It’s Worth It

Electrical inspectors sometimes struggle with the question of whether or not it is worth the effort to stay in the profession and do their part to make electrical energy safer for use by the public. The challenges to become qualified and maintain the necessary training to stay competent are significant. It is time consuming and generally expensive. It takes years of electrical training, such as that gained through apprenticeship programs and on-the-job training, to develop a broad and thorough knowledge of electrical systems.

Neon Educational Material

The neon sign industry has come a long way since that type of lighting technology was introduced into the United States in 1923.

Proposed Changes for the 2002 NEC, Part III

This is the final segment in the series of articles covering a number of proposed changes for the 2002 National Electrical Code.

Proposed New Safety Provisions in Article 110

The purpose of the National Electrical Code is stated in Section 90-1 as "…the practical safe guarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity.” The term "practical safeguarding” is significant in that it emphasizes that Code rules are designed to provide a level of safety to both people and property that is practical in nature. While the term "practical” is not specifically defined in view of safety rules, input from both the industry and the public through the consensus form of code development helps determine what it means in different situations.

Wisconsin Chapter – Model of Performance

IAEI members and associated organizations rose to the occasion to make possible the completion of a construction project at the IAEI headquarters building in Richardson, Texas. Finishing the second floor area to create an educational facility has provided a more suitable environment in which to conduct meetings and perform training. In a previous editorial, those individuals and organizations who contributed to make this work possible were identified. I believe it is appropriate to give special recognition to one contributor who has not only risen to the challenge, but has achieved a level of support that could not have been anticipated.

Design: Is it Part of the National Electrical Code?

Section 90-1(c) is often cited in arguments against submitted Code proposals. In many instances, it is the only defense against proposals, even though the proposals also contain recommended safety rules. One only has to look in previous editions of the NEC Report on Proposals and NEC Report on Comments to see how frequently this reference is used. Since the term "design specification” is not defined in the Code, it appears to take on different meanings, depending upon the situation in which it is used. Because of how it has often been used, it may be best to eliminate 90-1(c) from the Code.

Proposed Changes for the 2002 NEC, Part 2

This is the second part of a summary of proposed changes for the 2002 National Electrical Code® acted on by NEC Code Making Panels in January 2000. Proposals submitted to change the 2002 Code are included in the NEC Report on Proposals. That document is available from the National Fire Protection Association. Those who wish to make comments on actions taken by the code making panels must submit them to NFPA. They must be received by NFPA no later than 5:00 p.m. EDST, Friday, October 27, 2000.

The IAEI and the Electrical Inspector

Some members have voiced interest in expanding the scope of associate members of the IAEI in order to give those members a greater role in the operation of the organization. It is felt by some that because the majority of the members are classified as associate members and many of them work very hard for the organization, they should have the right to hold any office, vote on all matters, and represent the IAEI on committees involving other organizations.

Proposed Changes for the 2002 NEC

Over 4700 proposals were submitted to the National Fire Protection Association to amend the 1999 National Electrical Code. The 20 NEC Code-Making Panels met in January 2000, and took action on proposed changes to articles of the Code within the scope of each respective panel. Listed below is the first of a two-part brief summary of some significant changes accepted by the panels. The second part of the summary will be in the September/October issue. A more comprehensive coverage of accepted changes will be published following final action in 2001.

Electrical Safety

May is the month designated to promote electrical safety. It is appropriate to set aside a time to emphasize this important issue. Too many accidents happen because individuals either fail to understand the hazards involving the misuse or abuse of electricity or they choose to ignore safety guidelines. One would think that members of the electrical industry, especially installers and maintenance personnel, would be familiar with electrical hazards and take the necessary steps to avoid them. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. It seems that familiarity breeds complacency. It is not uncommon to hear the phrase, "electricians are their own worst enemies.” The consuming public generally has little knowledge of electricity and either doesn’t know how to recognize electrical hazards or has been given wrong information by well-meaning but untrained people.

I Thought It Was Dead

Assuming electrical circuits or equipment is dead or de energized can be a costly mistake. Phrases such as "I thought it was dead” have been used following an incident where an electrical shock or electrocution occurred. It pays to check it out. Every electrician who has worked for any length of time in the trade understands what can happen when a mistake occurs during work on energized or live parts of an electrical system. Electricians are taught in safety training classes to test the circuit to see if it is energized and to turn the power off before working on electrical equipment. Additional safety practices stipulate that the circuit should be locked out so that it cannot be inadvertently re-energized. For those situations where power cannot be shut off, proper safety equipment and procedures are to be used.

IAEI Re-certification of Electrical Inspectors

The IAEI has participated in inspector certification programs for several years and is pleased to see a growing interest in certification by code enforcing organizations and electrical inspectors. Electrical inspectors in both Canada and the United states have become certified through programs developed and administered in each respective country. The goal is for all electrical inspectors to be certified.

Comments on GFCI Article/IAEI Bonus Points Program

An article entitled "Are All Those GFCIs Out There Working?” was printed on pages 66-68 of the November/December 1999 issue of the IAEI News. The printing of that article was in error and I wish to extend an apology to readers of the IAEI News and other interested parties for the premature release of that article. The material was submitted to the IAEI for consideration and a working copy was reviewed. I declined to authorize the printing of the material and that information was relayed to the submitter.

The Inspector’s Voice Needs to Be Heard

Electrical inspectors are a vital part of the electrical safety system. It is unlikely that one could adequately define the value of the service electrical inspectors provide to the public in preventing electric shock and damage to or loss of property through the enforcement of electrical safety regulations.

Preparing for the 2002 National Electrical Code Cycle

It’s Code proposal time again! The closing date to submit proposed Code changes for the 2002 National Electrical Code® cycle is drawing near and many people are talking of changes they want to see made. November 5, 1999, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, is the deadline for proposals to be received by the National Fire Protection Association. More than 4,200 proposals were submitted for the 1999 Code.

Traits of a Good Electrical Inspector

A combination of traits and associated technical training and experience should help produce an individual highly qualified in the profession of electrical inspection. Being truly professional as an electrical inspector in both conduct and performance not only brings greater respect to the industry but makes it easier for other members of the electrical community to do their jobs.

Does the IAEI Endorse Electrical Products

A question has been asked as to what the IAEI policy is on endorsing or promoting electrical products. It is a fair question. This inquiry was made because of an advertisement by a manufacturer of a product used in the electrical industry. The company product literature included a statement that implied the equipment was endorsed by the IAEI. I believe it is appropriate for a clarification of the general policy maintained by the IAEI on this question.

Valuable Contribution by Associate Members

Known as the "keystone of the electrical industry,” the IAEI is a unique organization in which all members of the electrical industry can come together and participate as a group and deal with issues that affect both the industry and the general public. The success of the IAEI is due in part to inspector members going the extra mile and giving much of their own time to better the organization. They have worked hard to provide valuable education and to promote the adoption and enforcement of good electrical safety rules.

Electrical Inspector Certification Program in the United States

Certification is an important step in the progression of becoming a truly professional, highly trained and skilled electrical inspector. The Canadian Section of the IAEI promotes an inspector certification program in Canada and operates separately from its counterpart in the United States. An article on the Canadian Electrical Inspector Certification Program is scheduled for a later date.

IAEI Chapters Promoting Good Education

Two major purposes of the IAEI is to promote the uniform understanding and application of the NEC and other electrical codes and to collect and disseminate information relative to the safe use of electricity. In trying to achieve these objectives or goals, the IAEI focuses on education for both its members and the electrical industry in general. This is a great challenge. The IAEI staff and other contributors work hard to develop and produce educational material of a quality that can be readily used as learning tools for self motivated people who learn well through their own study and for others who prefer the classroom setting.

A Vote for the Future

A hearty thanks to IAEI members. The proposed change in the IAEI Articles of Association that included an increase in membership dues received a favorable vote during the 1998 IAEI Annual Section meetings. Over 90% of those casting votes during the section meetings supported the dues increase. The support expressed by members of the IAEI was and is vital to the existence of the IAEI as an active and effective organization in the electrical industry.