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Restricted Approach Boundary

Last updated: January 15, 2019

What Does Restricted Approach Boundary Mean?

The restricted approach boundary is a radius around live equipment that represents an increased risk of shock.

The boundary restricts access to exposed and energized electrical equipment in the workplace.

Safeopedia Explains Restricted Approach Boundary

This is a concept defined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The NFPA’s electrical safety standards require that workers entering a restricted approach boundary must meet certain safety obligations that include both worker qualification levels and the use of protective equipment. The distance between a restricted approach boundary and the electrical hazard it protects against varies depending on the voltage of the hazard. Higher voltages increase the risk and severity of accidental shocks occurring within the boundary.

The restricted approach boundary is used to prevent injury due to electrical shock and arc flashes. It is one of three hazardous area boundaries that are defined by the NFPA in its 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, coming before the prohibited approach boundary—which marks entrance into a higher risk area that is closer to the energized equipment—and after the limited approach boundary—a lower risk area that is further away. All three boundaries are hazard areas that are separated from the rest of the work site by the flash protection boundary. The NFPA standards are not U.S. federal law, but they may be used to establish compliance with legally defined obligations such as OSHA’s general duty standards.

Before passing over the flash protection boundary, a flash hazard assessment must be completed in order to properly define where each boundary should be and to determine the particular hazards faced by a worker who crosses it.

To cross over the restricted approach boundary, workers must have completed necessary training qualifications, must have a written plan for work in the area that has been approved by management, and must be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Authorization to enter the restricted approach boundary does not confer authorization to enter the prohibited approach boundary.


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