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

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    San Diego, CA

    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
    Norfolk, VA
    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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