Electrical Panels and exposure to water

Baker

Member
Location
Pennsylvania
Occupation
Control Technician / Licensed Electrician
Hello all, it's been awhile since I've been on but I need to ask a question that shouldn't need to be asked. Common sense should prevail but unfortunately it doesn't. I work in an industrial food manufacturing facility that requires high pressure wash down each night at the end of production. All of our machinery panels are rated NEMA 4X but we still have a lot of old lighting panels and similar power panels throughout the facility that are not NEMA 4X. Most of these panels are out of the heavily washed down areas and if employees adhere to the guidelines everything should be fine. Unfortunately not everyone listens. We've recently had an employee wash down an old cutler hammer lighting panel and created an arc flash. Blew a hole the size of a golf ball out the back of the panel box. I've been tasked with coming up with some sort of identification that alerts employees not to use water any where close to these panels. I've been coming up with different ideas but just wondering if anyone has anything that they use in their facilities that will easily catch someone's eye. We of course are planning safety meetings covering what just happened and trying to educate folks on the situation. Thanks in advance for any ideas.
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
Sounds like if you're (the company) are not willing to upgrading the panels to handle the water loads (wash down), besides having a warning label and signs, there needs to be a physical barrier to prevent incidental spraying. This scenario indicates the prescense of maybe several code violations (312.2, 408.16 just mention a couple, there maybe more) and even possibly OSHA regulations violations. The incident could have been much worse than a hole in the side of the panel, someone or several persons could have been killed or injured. You can't just tell employees not to get this area wet (large sign or verbally) and expect that this will keep it dry. (Not a recognized means by either NEC or OSHA.)
Are you the electrician on site?
 

Baker

Member
Location
Pennsylvania
Occupation
Control Technician / Licensed Electrician
I'm a control technician on site. I understand and agree 100% all these panels should be moved / upgraded etc but keep in mind this is a huge production facility that employ's over a thousand employees with hundreds if not thousands of these panels. Like I said they are not directly in the danger zone of water but can be if an employee is negligent. Just looking for a quick temp solution until a more permanent one can be achieved.
 

Strathead

Senior Member
How about red plastic sheets with the wording hung in front of each panel with velcro or magnets? This is suggested still as a temporary solution but should prevent incidents like you are referring to, unless people are in an out of the panels all the time and would forget to put the plastic up.
 
D

Dell3c

Guest
Something came to mind as temporary, till the situation can be corrected. (if link opens correctly) . Free-standing welding flash shields.

http/www.uline.com/product/detail/h-5179blu/welding/welding-screen-6x8-blue "which it didn't open"
 

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Wisconsin
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer - Power Systems
You can install per codes, but you cannot misuse proof your installation.

More than once I have seen cleaning crews wash the inside of equipment panels.
 
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