The National Electrical Code Committee has tentatively approved changes in the code that would provide more protection from electrical shock and electrocution in newly constructed homes, a Consumer Product Safety Commissioner said yesterday.
The committee, which is meeting now in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has tentatively approved recommendations to expand the use of ground-fault circuit interrupters in kitchens, workshop areas and basements, said CPSC Commissioner Stuart M. Statler.
Ground-fault circuit interrupters are shock protection devices that detect leaks in the electric current and cause it to be shut off to the wall outlet when any leakage is detected. For example, if a hair dryer fell into a tub filled with water, the outlet would shut off immediately, preventing potential electrocution.
Such circuit-interrupters are currently required by the national electrical code for bathrooms, garages and most outdoor circuits for all new residential construction.
Although the code is a voluntary industry standard, Statler said it has been adopted by 41 states and the District. In states where it has not been adopted, it has been embraced by most major municipalities, Statler said, adding that national revisions to the code are generally approved by state electrical boards.
The CPSC staff recommended the tentatively adopted changes to the code committee and is awaiting the committee's decision on the agency's final suggestion: to require circuit-interrupters in recreational vehicles, such as truck campers.