Dry type transformer used as shelf

wbdvt

Senior Member
Location
Rutland, VT, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer, PE
Hello,
I have unsuccessful in finding any code that would prohibit the use of 600V or less, dry type transformer as a shelf/storage. This be placing items such as chemicals, paper, catalog, etc on top. An example is shown in attached picture.
I cannot find a specific code but feel at the very least not a good practice. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thank you in advance
 

Attachments

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
If the change made in the first draft report for the 2020 NEC makes it through the process, the following will be added to the end of 450.9
Transformer top surfaces that are horizontal and readily accessible shall be marked to prohibit storage.
 

wbdvt

Senior Member
Location
Rutland, VT, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer, PE
Well, this facility is trying to improve their electrical safety and risk so questions are being asked about long standing practices/issues/concerns.

I had thought this would be the correct place to ask this question with all of the experience and diversity here but out of 5 answers only one was serious, valid and helpful. I would have thought that responsible, serious, helpful responses would have been more than 20%.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Well, this facility is trying to improve their electrical safety and risk so questions are being asked about long standing practices/issues/concerns.

I had thought this would be the correct place to ask this question with all of the experience and diversity here but out of 5 answers only one was serious, valid and helpful. I would have thought that responsible, serious, helpful responses would have been more than 20%.
No permanent storage should be permitted. To lay a tool on it temporarily like in your photo, probably not too much of a safety issue.

More important to maintain needed clearances for ventilation openings IMO, which includes sides and bottom of the unit.
 

MAC702

Senior Member
Location
Clark County, NV
Are we just LOOKING for things to do, now? Is the top of the case part of the designed cooling surface area in some way? Put me in the camp of not caring about anything being set on top as long as it's not so heavy to cause dents, or scratch a nice paint job. Permanent stuff would be an issue if this is considered working space or dedicated space, but for the xformer in and of itself?

Would we have an issue if a shelf were built over the top of this wasted space? That might be considered permanent, and an issue, though common sense should dictate whether it's an issue or not, if there were discos or switches or panels or something else that you actually needed to get to.

What about a xformer mounted up on the wall? Can you put a desk under it?
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
It may exists but I have found no Code prohibiting the practice although, as you say, it's a bad idea.
Since you mentioned safety issues, the picture does not provide depth but I'd be more concerned about required working space for the disconnect located behind (above) the transformer.
 

iceworm

Curmudgeon still using printed IEEE Color Books
Location
North of the 65 parallel
Occupation
EE (Field - as little design as possible)
Well, this facility is trying to improve their electrical safety and risk so questions are being asked about long standing practices/issues/concerns.

I had thought this would be the correct place to ask this question with all of the experience and diversity here but out of 5 answers only one was serious, valid and helpful. I would have thought that responsible, serious, helpful responses would have been more than 20%.
Good Heavens - put the knives away and lighten up. It's okay to take the job seriously, just take yourself lightly. The 80% just told you they didn't know where to suggest to look.

What you are asking about is dead freaking normal through the industry. You might find a housekeeping OSHA regulation. It is not an NEC issue, and likely never will be.

If the change made in the first draft report for the 2020 NEC makes it through the process, the following will be added to the end of 450.9
Transformer top surfaces that are horizontal and readily accessible shall be marked to prohibit storage.
Interestingly, even this won't make housekeeping an NEC issue. Once the sign gets painted on the transformer, and the inspector is satisfied, that is the end of it. No electrical inspector is going to check back and make sure the house is clean. OSHA might have a fit, the NEC won't.

I personally don't think stacking stuff on top of a transformer is inherently dangerous. However, I have heard of a bunch of research showing the sloppy workplace have increased accidents. And that makes it worth while to generally cleanup - not just the tops of the transformers.

Best I could suggest is to read up on a 1000 pages of OSHA regs - unless it is 2000 pages. And it likely won't be in the electrical section.

However, I suspect the answer is to find a manager with ovaries to step up and say, "We are cleaning this place up. Every day, pickup your work area. Friday afternoon pick up, put away, mop. Everybody is on deck. Areas are assigned." Roll it out slow as a safety issue.

A couple of my clients do this. Works well. Only two issues I've seen:
At the start, older journeymen aren't interested - they want the kids to do it. "You're going to pay me to mop." Uhhh, yeah, that's what I said - unless you are telling me you can't do it.

Management has to schedule time every day for cleaning. Outrageous Example: You got 8 guys and girls. And you want an hour of cleanup every day. You have to hire another person to makeup the 8 hours. What manager is going to suggest that? No, it isn't that bad, but the point is true. If management wants the place cleaned up - they have to pay the bill.​

As for the poor responses, Internet advise is worth what you paid for it. Except for mine. It's worth somewhat less.

the worm
 

iceworm

Curmudgeon still using printed IEEE Color Books
Location
North of the 65 parallel
Occupation
EE (Field - as little design as possible)
And if you want the crews to stop using the top of the transformer, you are going have to build them a shelf.
 

jamieb

Member
jamieb

jamieb

In Canada, fire regulations state that you must have at least 6" from any surrounding walls and at least 36" of clearance after that, also nothing to be left on top of the TX.
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
You are too far south to have such need.:D
The farther south you go, the colder the air conditioning is set. Some places I work in I have to wear a sweater.

I had thought this would be the correct place to ask this question with all of the experience and diversity here but out of 5 answers only one was serious, valid and helpful. I would have thought that responsible, serious, helpful responses would have been more than 20%.
You are correct that this is the right place. You'll find no finer place on the internet to ask such questions. But you didn't do enough research on us. If you had, you would know that joking around and humorous comments are a normal part of this forum. There was no attempt to offend you. Being responsible, serious, and helpful 100% of the time is tiring and boring. :cool:
 
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Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
Before you walk in a room that you know has transformers humming, have you ever tried the 60 cycle hum before you enter? I have it down to one to two cycles in pitch! I would screw up if I went to Canada at 50 cycles! lol
 
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