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Grandfather Clause for working space clearances.

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    Grandfather Clause for working space clearances.

    [COLOR=#000000]My question is: Our existing MCC with 480 volt buckets are currently 36” away from fixed hose connections. The NEC requires the clearance to be 42” from grounded surfaces. Since these were installed decades ago ( about 1972), are they grandfathered in and acceptable at 36” or do they need to be relocated to 42”. The hoses and spill pans are removable and are removed from the area when work is needed to be performed on the MCC.[/COLOR]
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    #2
    To answer your question it's going to require someone looking up old codes to find out what readily accessible workspace requirements and egress requirements existed back then. If it was legal then, it's grandfathered.

    But I say that even if it needed 1" of "readily accessible workspace" and any sort of egress requirement, you don't have that. To have to shut down and disassemble equipment to get to the MCC does not render it "readily accessible."
    You make the lights come on and we make them go off.

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      #3
      At first look, I'd have guessed the electrical gear was there first, and somebody added the piping later? I'd have a hard time accepting what you have there.

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        #4
        Originally posted by USMC1302 View Post
        At first look, I'd have guessed the electrical gear was there first, and somebody added the piping later? I'd have a hard time accepting what you have there.
        Me too. Trying to get to that MCC with all that hosing in the way......
        Fire Marshal might get a bad case of heart burn too.
        Sometimes I don't know whether I'm the boxer or the bag.

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          #5
          As far as I know that was not in compliance even in the early 70's.
          Don, Illinois
          (All code citations are 2017 unless otherwise noted)

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            #6
            Thanks for the responses. Anyone know where I can get an archive of 1977 edition NFPA70?

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              #7
              Originally posted by GOZ View Post
              Thanks for the responses. Anyone know where I can get an archive of 1977 edition NFPA70?
              In the OP you said it was built in 1972.

              http://www.amazon.com/National-Elect.../dp/B000BFYFKK
              You make the lights come on and we make them go off.

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                #8
                One of the waste water plants I used to work at was built in 72, upgraded early 80s. The handrails on the aeration tanks were built at 36" height. Code now is 42". They got a variance from OSHA to keep at 36", with signs everywhere that read "warning:low handrails ahead!" or something similar.

                I relate that story to you because I think you're getting a bunch of signage rather than the pipe moved.
                Electricians do it until it Hertz!

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                  #9
                  Forget working clearances for a moment, what is the media in the piping?

                  Hard to believe there isn't spills and leaks at times as well as washing down when that happens. That gear doesn't look like it would be designed to take that.
                  I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by mgookin View Post
                    In the OP you said it was built in 1972.

                    http://www.amazon.com/National-Elect.../dp/B000BFYFKK
                    I was told before I posted that the Plant was built in 72' before my original post only to be told by another Member of management that it was actually 77'. SMH.

                    Thank you for the link. I googled several different things and couldn't get anything close to what I was looking for.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by kwired View Post
                      Forget working clearances for a moment, what is the media in the piping?

                      Hard to believe there isn't spills and leaks at times as well as washing down when that happens. That gear doesn't look like it would be designed to take that.
                      Oil and blending additives are in the piping. I have been here 5 years and there has been a couple incidents of "Wash down". You are correct in the design not rated for the environment. Oil mist is a problem that I have raised concern about several times yet $2mil is a hard pill for corporate to swallow for the upgrade needed. Needless to say they are dragging their heels on it and looking for cheaper avenues.

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                        #12
                        1975 http://www.amazon.com/National-Elect.../dp/B000HWK0YM

                        It's a 3 year cycle. The next one after 1975 will be 1978. I can't find that one but there are people on here who have every edition.

                        Generally it takes some time to adopt a code edition. I'd check out the 1975 and see what that says.
                        You make the lights come on and we make them go off.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by GOZ View Post
                          Oil and blending additives are in the piping. I have been here 5 years and there has been a couple incidents of "Wash down". You are correct in the design not rated for the environment. Oil mist is a problem that I have raised concern about several times yet $2mil is a hard pill for corporate to swallow for the upgrade needed. Needless to say they are dragging their heels on it and looking for cheaper avenues.
                          I can respect that the board wants concrete information so they can make an informed decision. That's their job.

                          I suggest looking to that 1975 code edition and seeing what it says. I know there are people on here who have it. Maybe if you start another thread titled "1975 NEC Working Space Requirements" and then in the body of the thread ask "Does anyone know what requirements existed for clear working space and egress from MCC in the 1975 NEC?" If it turns out a violation exists, you can provide that concrete information to your higher ups. An adverse event due to not making the correction could well cost in excess of $2MM and you would still have the problem.

                          Let's think outside the box though. You say $2MM and I'm sure that's just a rough budgetary estimate subject to more refined estimating and bidding. But you likely have one solution in mind. Options include moving the MCC or moving the pump infrastructure. That room has 4 walls, a floor and a ceiling. That gives a choice of 6 directions to go. Either making the room bigger or moving equipment to another room are options. There is certainly considerable cost involved but just make sure you consider all possibilities including the not so obvious.

                          Good luck!
                          You make the lights come on and we make them go off.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Still looks like the electrical gear was there first. That catwalk would appear to be proper if the piping wasn't there, so what is more costly? Working clearances seem trivial in the big picture.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by mgookin View Post
                              I can respect that the board wants concrete information so they can make an informed decision. That's their job.

                              I suggest looking to that 1975 code edition and seeing what it says. I know there are people on here who have it. Maybe if you start another thread titled "1975 NEC Working Space Requirements" and then in the body of the thread ask "Does anyone know what requirements existed for clear working space and egress from MCC in the 1975 NEC?" If it turns out a violation exists, you can provide that concrete information to your higher ups. An adverse event due to not making the correction could well cost in excess of $2MM and you would still have the problem.

                              Let's think outside the box though. You say $2MM and I'm sure that's just a rough budgetary estimate subject to more refined estimating and bidding. But you likely have one solution in mind. Options include moving the MCC or moving the pump infrastructure. That room has 4 walls, a floor and a ceiling. That gives a choice of 6 directions to go. Either making the room bigger or moving equipment to another room are options. There is certainly considerable cost involved but just make sure you consider all possibilities including the not so obvious.

                              Good luck!
                              I actually ended up contacting NFPA. I was able to purchase a downloadable copy of the code book for $30. To settle anyone's curiosity. The code for working space clearances then is the same as our current edition. Condition 2 applies in my case and was a violation that must have gotten overlooked. Some of the employees currently working here today all vouch for the piping always being in its location. I am happy to have solid information to back up one of my concerns. Thank you all for helping me. Always impressed by the knowledge and generosity of the members on this site.

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