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Did Kentucky lawmakers do away with unnecessary regulations, or did it compromise public safety?

During the current Kentucky General Assembly, lawmakers passed HB 100, which included an amendment allowing Kentucky to issue its own amendments to the National Electrical Code.

Senator Jared Carpenter (R-Richmond) spoke in favor of the amendment, citing the practices he endorses as the owner of KJC Properties, LLC Real Estate and Rental Properties.

If a tenant calls and says they plugged in a curling iron and now their lights won’t come on, the solution is typically to change the GFCI outlets, said Carpenter. Ground fault control breaker outlets just don’t work well, says Carpenter, and cause needless service issues that drive up costs. Federal regulations reduce efficiency and increase costs for businesses, he said, while not necessarily keeping people safe.

“There’s no electrician that wants to come to your house that wants to do faulty, unsafe work,” said Carpenter. They don’t want to risk the liability if something goes wrong, he said.

The National Fire Prevention Association takes a different view. Keeping current with the latest nation standards is critical for safety, NFPA maintains, and neglecting or opposing national standards could lead to property damage and loss of life.

The political and regulatory environment has shifted significantly in the last few years, however, and now national standards like the NEC face greater scrutiny. Adoption of updates is taking longer.

What does that mean for facilities managers? Facilities managers might have to work a little harder to keep up with the latest regulations, particularly in states like Kentucky which may amend the NEC or other federal standards. State code changes might not always be less strict, sometimes they may be more stringent depending on local context. It’s important to take nothing for granted. Keeping an eye on local codes is key, too.

Organizations like NFPA can be helpful in keeping up with the latest, but developing a good relationship with your local code enforcement office is key. They are the experts when it comes to knowing what is permissible, what is not, and why. Look to your local code enforcement office as an educational resource.

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