Taking the QWESTIONS out of QEW

By John Book, NAES Project Engineer

Establishing a Qualified Electrical Worker (QEW) program can be a daunting prospect. At first glance, the requirement for qualifying each employee in every electrical task they will perform sounds like a huge task. Although the elements of the program are extensive, when they are broken down into individual steps, the process becomes less intimidating. In fact, many of the program elements will already be in place; they merely need to be consolidated and documented. NAES has support personnel to help you through this process.

Basic Requirements

NAES SMP-09 Electrical Safety Program requires that:

“Only Qualified Persons shall be engaged in the construction, maintenance, and/or operation of electrical equipment.

The NAES and NFPA definition of a Qualified person is:

QEW Basic Elements

“A Qualified Person is one who has demonstrated skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation and installation and has received safety training to identify and avoid the hazards involved.”

So, the basics of qualifying your staff can be broken down into three basic elements. Demonstrated Skills, Knowledge, and Training.

NFPA 70E also states:

“They shall be trained in safety-related work practices and procedural requirements, as necessary, to provide protection from the electrical hazards associated with their respective job or task assignments.”

This means that we need to build a matrix of all plant personnel according to their respective job positions and the electrical tasks they will perform. Subsequently, we must ensure that those personnel are trained so they know what they are doing and how to do it safely.

Building a QEW Program

These are the recommended steps for building a QEW program:

  • Designate a QEW Program Facilitator
  • Designate Subject Matter Expert(s)
    • Senior electrical personnel
    • Obtains the latest edition of the NFPA 70E
    • Attends NFPA 70E Course
  • Develop tasks list by job classification
  • Develop method for conducting and recording task demonstration
    • Job Performance Measures (JPMs)
    • Employee Qualifications
  • Develop QEW training matrix
    • Safety Training
    • JPMs
    • Human Performance Training
    • Technical Training
  • Develop a training schedule

Altavista QEW program

Engineer QEW

The NAES Engineering and Maintenance Services team is currently working with the Altavista Power Station to develop detailed JPMs and a training matrix for the qualification of their staff. E&M Services personnel conducted a three-day site visit to walk down all electrical equipment and identify equipment-specific electrical tasks. Meetings were held with plant personnel to verify equipment specifics and task requirements.

E&M Services continued working with plant staff through remote Teams meetings to develop detailed information and steps for the JPMs. These JPMs will be used as a guide in conducting the electrical task demonstrations. The QEW training matrix was populated with all equipment-specific tasks and plant personnel positions and names. After finalizing these elements, a guide and training schedule will be created to aid in the administration of the QEW program.


NAES provides multiple resources and services for supporting the creation and implementation of your QEW program.

NAES Engineering and Maintenance – The NAES Engineering and Maintenance Department can provide  guidance on developing your QEW program at your facility.

NAES Safety Program – The NAES Safety Team and Electrical Safety Program provide  guidance on QEW, while safety training on NAES LOTO, Safe Work, & Electrical Safety are part of satisfying training requirements.

NFPA 70E Training – The NAES training team organizes and conducts NFPA 70E training with NFPA qualified instructors. Watch for future email messages from the NAES training department announcing NFPA 70E courses.

NAES GPiLearn – NAES partners with GP Strategies® for the GPiLEARN+ Learning Management System (LMS) to provide many training courses on electrical safety, electrical equipment, and electrical testing.

A list of recommended lessons can be found at the NAES EnergyLine GPiLEARN+ link.


If thinking about the safety of your team keeps you up at night, QEW can be a program that lets you rest easier. Knowing your personnel have been properly trained and qualified to interact with electrical equipment in a safe manner through a comprehensive QEW program can do just that. Building that program doesn’t have to be intimidating. Your NAES support teams are here to help.