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#54084 - 07/16/05 06:26 PM covering panels with pictures, boards, ect.  
rj  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 21
Skidmore, Missouri, USA
Hello all it has been a long time since I have been on here. Hope everyone is doing well and staying busy. But I have a guestion. I am having a hard time with people place pictures, boards, and other things on panel boxes and I need to know where to look in the code that says this should not be done. I have found the 3ft rule but I have not found any thing else. So I was wondering if anyone could help me out?
Thanks, you all take care and be careful.

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#54085 - 07/16/05 06:30 PM Re: covering panels with pictures, boards, ect.  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
Strictly speaking IMO it could be seen as a workspace violation.

But geez, come on, is it really a safety problem?

Whats wrong with a little camouflage.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#54086 - 07/16/05 06:40 PM Re: covering panels with pictures, boards, ect.  
Speedy Petey  Offline
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 173
Upstate, NY
Are we talking commercial or residential?
Commercially a panel is rarely in a conspicous place.
Residentially I say let them do what ever they want as long as it's not permanent. I would not consider a removable panel or painting a workspace violation. Just move it out of the way and work. [Linked Image]

Speedy Petey

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein

#54087 - 07/16/05 07:21 PM Re: covering panels with pictures, boards, ect.  
watthead  Offline
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 172
South Carolina
Just think of all the work we gan get when they drive the sixteen penny nail, to hang the picture on, directly into the SEU cable.
I did have a customer call a couple of weeks ago when he and a buddy were putting down plywood in the attic with sixteen pennys. When he tried to switch on the light in the dining room the breaker would trip. Go figure. He was sure that they had not done anything to cause the problem, untill I asked him what size nails he was using. At that exact moment I think he had one of those epiphany things.

#54088 - 07/16/05 08:06 PM Re: covering panels with pictures, boards, ect.  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
I have twice posted pics in the forum showing examples of this 'camoflage.' One was a resturaunt where the wall was artfully painted with a mural, that made the panels darn near invisible; the other was an office that had hung a painting over the panel.

In both cases, access to the panel was not a problem; finding it was! In the office example, the tenant- who must have once put the painting up themselves- had no idea that there was a panel directly behind her desk!

I'm not sure that there ever will be a "solution" that satisfies everyone. Folks simply can't abide the sight of the panel- and it's a credit to the trade that they don't have to visit the panel very often!

Just be glad they haven't put a meat freezer- filled with 1000# of beef- in front of it!

#54089 - 07/16/05 09:57 PM Re: covering panels with pictures, boards, ect.  
Wolfman56  Offline
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 14
Vancouver, WA USA
I put it this way to the homeowner. If the fire dept. had to respond to a fire in your home, (or possibly storm damage) the first thing they need to do is kill the power! What if they can't find the main? Time wasted could cost a life.

#54090 - 07/16/05 11:52 PM Re: covering panels with pictures, boards, ect.  
LK  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
New Jersey
We had an accounting department where they put a encased display in front of distribution panels, you would open the display case to access the panels, they had a card sort machine in this area, one of the young ladies had her hand pulled into the machine, the safety stop was not working, and the machine was very heavy so no one could get access to the plug, she was sceaming and bleeding , while everyone in a panic looked for the panel, Yes it is not a problem to hide a panel until someone was injured.

#54091 - 07/17/05 03:40 AM Re: covering panels with pictures, boards, ect.  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
LK that is a fairly odd situation.

First a display case in front of a panel is IMO a far cry from a picture in front of a panel.

Second there is no requirement that a panel is visible, the panel could be on another floor in a locked closet so to say immediate access is required is IMO a stretch.

It sounds like the card sorting machines lack of disconnecting means was culprit IMO.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#54092 - 07/17/05 09:41 AM Re: covering panels with pictures, boards, ect.  
georgestolz  Offline
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 91
Fort Collins, CO, US
It sounds like the card sorting machines lack of disconnecting means was culprit IMO.

Sounds like it to me.

Of course, in a similar situation, I was working on a machine with no less than three e-stops on it, one being well within reach. In agony I forgot it was there. [Linked Image]


#54093 - 07/17/05 02:09 PM Re: covering panels with pictures, boards, ect.  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
Often if I hear that an owner plans to place a picture over a panel to hide it, I will accomadate it by moving cables off center, and put some 3/4" ply above so the hanger can be in something solid, and put the hanger there myself. I would rather do it myself than have the homeowner do it. No one wants to see our work, and I'm happy to accomadate it. I just see it as another part of a good custom install. I would rather be involve in the proccess, than have someone do something dangerous, or create a hazard for me or someone else to work on in the future. And thats for interior sub-panels in residential. Commercial, most of my panels get a room to themselves. And very rarely is a main panel in any place where someone might want to hide it, although I am kind of sick of people planting trees and bushes in front of them. Another situation where I would rather help you hide it than have to fight though a bush to work on it later.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

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