The city I work for is building a new water treatment plant on a 230 acre site with several well houses that are currently in various stages of construction. Some well houses were constructed over two years ago under previous contracts, but none of them are completely finished. I am an electronics tech for the city water department and will be working in this plant. Since I am a licensed master electrician, I have been doing all of the electrical change orders for this project. The electrical contractor installed the equipment in the well houses and I wired some of the motors. The motor wiring was not in the electricians contract and the city refuses to give the electrical contractor any extra work.
The well houses are small round structures and there is insufficient safe working space around all of the electrical equipment (See layout below). They were improperly designed and constructed that way. I discussed the safety issue with my supervisor and informed him that I would not work on any equipment while energized until they enlarged the buildings to meet code. His reply was that the buildings would not be rebuilt, that we would have to find a way to make it work, and that I was just trying to get out of doing the work. That pissed me off,
so I talked to my department head about the safety hazard. Again, I was told that the buildings would not be rebuilt and he needed time to research this. The city electrical inspector agrees with me but I think his hands are tied since this is a city project and one of the city's engineering staff is doing the onsite inspections.
While working in one of the well houses, I noticed one light fixture go off when the electric heater came on, so I wrote a work order to repair the problem. I will not work on it energized due to the insufficient safe working space, so my supervisor hired an electrical contractor to check the problem. I heard about this and informed him that this is an OHSA violation. I wrote a memo to my department head detailing the NEC (110-26) and OSHA (1910.303, 1926.403) violations. That got the wheels turning on resolving this issue.
Now tell me:
If NEC 110-26 only applies to energized equipment, how can you check voltage without safe working space? Or program the PLC in the control panel?
Should the buildings be rebuilt to comply with 110-26?
If the buildings are not rebuilt, should I contact OSHA?
I look forward to your comments and remember, SAFETY FIRST.
[This message has been edited by sparks55 (edited 04-04-2002).]