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#89496 - 09/16/04 09:36 PM Electrical Panels
MikeP Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Astoria, OR USA
Hello: This is my first time to join and to post a concern I dont know the answer I have tried to find the answer but the NEC is hard to read for a novice like me when it comes to electricity.

I am a safety assistant for a company and I primarily do all the safety inspection and here lately I have come across some issues with electrical panels that I would most apprecite some clarification.

I understand that if it is 600 watts or less it is required a minimun of a 3 foot clearance to the panel.
Here is my question.
If a electrical panel is approximately 5 feet off the floor and there is a trash can in front of it (againt the wall) or a small cabinet and it is not hindering the opening or closing of the panel door is this alright to have?

I would like to find out before I go and put my foot in my mouth as there is always someone at my work that thinks they "know it all' and I need documentation to back it up.

I have completed the OSHA 601 course for the basics and also will be attending several other classes in the near future to broaden my knowledge.

Any comments would be most appreciated!!


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#89497 - 09/17/04 03:41 AM Re: Electrical Panels
George Corron Offline

Registered: 05/16/01
Posts: 728
Loc: Lorton, Va USA
Negative, 110-26 requires a 3' clearance from floor to ceiling. Technically there is nothing allowed in front of the panel.

A trash can is not the most heinous violation being of a temporary nature however.

Timely question since I just wrote an e-mail to 80 schools reminding them to have ALL the junk removed from in front of their panels. I had an employee removing stationary from in front of one Tuesday who fell over some boxes and injured his wrist.

It is a prevalent problem in the industry, but I find the stationary a real heart burn because it's also flammable in case that panel arcs.

BTW - WELCOME to the forum


#89498 - 09/17/04 02:28 PM Re: Electrical Panels
George Little Offline

Registered: 01/18/04
Posts: 1492
Loc: Michigan USA
Floor to ceiling is not always true. It would be more accurate to say working space extends from the floor up to 6.5 feet feet or the height of the equipment, whichever is greater. After that we have dedicated space that is equal to the width and depth of the equipment extending up 6 feet or to the ceiling, whichever is lower. 110.26(E) and (F)(1)
George Little

#89499 - 09/17/04 05:58 PM Re: Electrical Panels
Tom Offline

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1069
Loc: Shinnston, WV USA


The depth of the working space is pretty well coverd by the Georges. There is also a minimum width of 30" or the width of the equipment, whichever is wider. The equipment does not have to be centered in the space.

The best description I've heard of the required working space is,picture the cardboard box that a refrigerator is shipped in, that is about the right size except for the height.

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

#89500 - 09/17/04 09:10 PM Re: Electrical Panels
MikeP Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Astoria, OR USA
Thank you for all your help it is very much appreciated

#89501 - 09/25/04 03:04 PM Re: Electrical Panels
harold endean Offline

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ
What was that old saying? Picture a refrigerator packing carton in front of the electrical panel. If you can place it there, then you have the proper spacing. The Refrig box was approx. 6 feet tall, 30" from left to right and 36" from front to back. Or something like that.

#89502 - 09/26/04 06:01 AM Re: Electrical Panels
PCBelarge Offline

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 657
Loc: Dobbs Ferry, NY, USA
110.26(B) Clear Spaces.
Working space required by this section shall not be used for storage.

pretty simple - easy to find this violation

Pierre Belarge

#89503 - 09/26/04 06:27 AM Re: Electrical Panels
Dave55 Offline

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
I recently installed a service for a commercial condo. The tenant's employees piled 5 gallon cans of flammable liquids in front of the panel. I thought it was important enough to mention.


#89504 - 09/27/04 04:32 PM Re: Electrical Panels
tdhorne Offline

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 344
Loc: Maryland, USA
The storage of flammables adjacent to an electrical panel will result in a burn down of the equipment when what should have been a minor nuisance fire cause the feeder's insulation to fail.
Tom H
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use" Thomas Alva Edison


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