This question concerns installations where a separate switch or breaker is installed to control equipment, not where the switch or breaker in integral to the controlled equipment.
The basic rule in 404.8(A) (2008 NEC) is that the center of the grip on the operating handle of a switch or breaker in its highest position can be no more than 6 ft 7 in above the floor or working platform. Exception 2 modifies this rule by permitting the handle height to be more than 6 ft 7 in IF the switch or breaker is (a) "...installed ADJACENT to motors, appliances, or other equipment that they supply" AND (b) the switch or breaker is accessible by portable means (e.g., ladder).
So, if equipment is installed at or below 6 ft 7 in, then the basic rule of installing the associated switch or breaker with its handle grip at or below 6 ft 7 in would apply.
If the equipment is mounted higher than 6 ft 7 in above the floor or platform, then Exception 2 could be applied (for example, the picture in Mike's NEC book showing the disconnect adjacent to equipment above a dropped ceiling), as long as the switch or breaker is accessible by portable means.
But, it seems that if equipment is mounted AT or BELOW 6 ft 7 in, then Exception 2 could NOT be used because the switch or breaker would not be "adjacent" to the equipment, even if the switch or breaker could be reached by portable means. Using Exception 2 in this case would essentially negate the basic rule.
Is this the correction application of this paragraph?