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Whats Wrong Here?


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, 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.

Find the Answer

This red metal pipe is the handle on one of two trash bins at a condominium complex. The trash bins are rolled onto the street and emptied into a garbage truck three times a week. When the trash handler pushes the bin back into place, he does so with no regard to the metal switch plate. As you can see, this abuse has occurred for some time now. I imagine that under the right circumstances this cover plate could fall off and the metal bin could become energized.

As an electrical designer, you can specify a higher mounting location for a switch. According to 404.8(A), switches are to be operated from a readily accessible place. The NEC defines "readily accessible" as "Capable of being reached quickly for operation, renewal, or inspections without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite to climb over or remove obstacles or to resort to portable ladders, and so forth." The center of the grip of the operating handle of the switch or if a circuit breaker, when in its highest position, cannot be more than 2.0 m (6 ft 7 in.) above the floor or working platform.

The rules covering grounding of general-use snap switches and grounding of enclosures are located in 404.9(B) and 404.12.

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