What’s Wrong Here? Hint: It's Limbo Time!

What’s Wrong Here? Hint: It's Limbo Time!

Can you identify the Code violation(s) in this photo?

How well do you know the Code? Think you can spot violations the original installer either ignored or couldn't identify? Here's your chance to moonlight as an electrical inspector and second-guess someone else's work from the safety of your living room or office. It's your turn to identify the violation.

Hint: It's time to limbo.

Find the Answer

You may need to practice your limbo skills in order to work in this panelboard, which is tucked into the corner. You may also need to be a "Crouching Tiger" to cram yourself into such a small working space.

This small working space creates a big violation of 110.26 of the 2011 NEC, which requires "Access and working space shall be provided and maintained about all electrical equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment." The specific depth, width, and height of the working space is described in 110.26(A).

Beginning with 110.26(A)(1), the minimum depth of this working space — according to the Table 110. 26(A)(1) — would need to be at least 3 ft since this is a 120/240V system. A minimum width of 30 in. is required by 110.26(A)(2). The minimum height for the working space would need to be at least 6 ½ ft, in accordance with 110.26(A)(3).

As can been seen in this photograph, a safe working space simply does not exist at this specific location. This can place workers in a very dangerous situation if they need to work in this location when the panelboard is energized. There is also an increased possibility of getting shocked, and a much greater chance of getting injured from an arc-flash in this congested space.

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