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What's Wrong Here?

What's Wrong Here?

Hint: Is this cleaning equipment being stored in an electrical room or is this electrical equipment being stored in a cleaning supply storage area?


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. Joe Tedesco, who has a knack for finding shoddy electrical work, did the dirty work and found this mess. Now it's your turn to identify the violation.

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Larry Castillo, electric shop foreman, Denver Water Department, Denver; Dennis Schlitt, senior electrical engineer, Integrated Design Solution, Troy, Mich.; and George Farrell, proprietor, George W. Farrell & Associates, Crystal Lake, Ill., identified quite a few Code violations, poor design and installation practices, and breaches of safety in the June photo:

  • Lack of working clearance in front of panelboards and transformer [110.26(A)].

  • Lack of adequate ventilation around transformer (450.45).

  • The conduit above the blue cabinet isn't adequately supported within 3 feet of the cabinet [344.30(A)].

  • The copper water line above the panelboards violates the dedicated space requirement of 110.26(F)(1)(a).

  • There appears to be corrugated cardboard (maybe carpeting strips) stacked against the switchboard to left. And a roll of what appears to be carpet is stacked between the blue wall-mounted panelboard and the green object, which appears to be a ventilated transformer. And ladders and other objects are leaning against the side of the enclosed circuit breaker on the back wall. This violates 110.23(A) and (B) and possibly 450.9.

  • Access is blocked by carts and other materials. This doesn't meet requirements for readily accessible or for working space. [Definitions and 110.26 (A) and (B) and 450.13].

  • Possible hazardous and/or flammable materials in the form of cleaning supplies are stored in this space. The vapors from these supplies often attack insulation or corrode metals [110.11, FPN No. 2].

  • Large blue tank in foreground appears to contain pressurized substances.

  • Although this is a recent NEC addition and isn't retroactive, safety would be improved if the equipment had arc-flash hazard labels installed in accordance with 110.16 of 2005 NEC.

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