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Thread: Receptacle panels in common area. Should they be locked all of the time?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    3

    Receptacle panels in common area. Should they be locked all of the time?

    I am working as a consultant at a manufacturing plant in CA. The facility has 208V receptacle panels in hallways and areas accessible by anyone in the company (500 people).

    The Maintenance Manager took a OSHA class years ago that stated the panels should be kept locked unless they are located in a room with controlled access - Mechanical or Electrical room for instance.

    I agree with this practice, but have been asked for a code requirement to back it up. Others question the need for this and prefer to have them unlocked for convenience.

    NFPA 70E section 130.6.M states that "After a circuit has been de-energized by the automatic operation of a circuit protective device, the circuit shall not be manually re-energized until it has been determined that the equipment and circuit can be safely energized".

    I can interpret that to mean only Qualified Persons can make this determination and therefore all others should not be allowed access to the protective device.

    There is a company Electrical Safety Program in place, but there is no mention of access to breakers.

    There are also 480V Distribution Panels in common areas that are not lockable - the breakers are mounted on the front with no door to lock. If the 208V panels need to be locked, what about those?

    I appreciate your feedback and expertise.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    201
    There is no actual regulatory requirement that circuit breaker panels be locked. In fact there are cb panels that don't even have doors. While I consider it a best practice to keep unqualified people from possibly resetting tripped breakers or anything else in a panel, there is no actual requirement to lock cb panels.

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