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Flexible Cord Issues

Posted By: Admin

Flexible Cord Issues - 01/20/05 02:16 AM

(submitted via Joe Tedesco)
Quote
I have a question pertaining to the use of flexible cords in a manufacturing environment. My area of expertise is safety and health for general industry and during inspections and audits at our facilities throughout the US, I find the use of flexible cords as an area of great concern.

During a recent visit to one of our manufacturing sites I spotted what I feel are clear cut violations of OSHA regulations and the NEC, however the electrical contractor that installed the wiring insists that his work meets code. This flexible wiring is primarily used to power outlet boxes and permanently installed equipment.

Michael J. Tanke
Strain Relief:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Outlet Box Wiring:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Wiring Method:

[Linked Image]


[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited 01-19-2005).]
Posted By: Admin

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/20/05 02:19 AM

Suspended Outlet Boxes:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Flexible wiring at ceiling:

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Admin

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/20/05 02:21 AM

Flexible cord to electrical panels:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Flexible cord use:

[Linked Image]
Posted By: electure

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/20/05 04:51 AM

Was a permit pulled for his work?
Posted By: Big Jim

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/20/05 07:13 AM

Who's code? Not the NEC for sure.
Posted By: Trumpy

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/20/05 11:09 PM

Hanging what looks like poly-phase cords from a roof, without adequate support sets up a bit of a dangerous precedent.
What annoys me more, when this standard of work is installed by an EC, some workers on site, get the idea that this is how things are done.
This guy's work just screams "I don't give a ****!".
Or "I'm not smart enough to use real wire and conduit". [Linked Image]

{Message edited for spelling errors}

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 01-20-2005).]
Posted By: bp-redbear

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/20/05 11:33 PM

I used to work in a manufacturing plant, and now work in a food processing plant. Flexible cord is often used (wrongly) as a substitute for a fixed wiring method. If the equipment is frequently moved, that's one thing...

In these pics we see fittigs that are intended for armored or metal-clad cable used with flex cord. Unfortunately, I was taught to do this. I now use prpoer fittings for cords.

The 4sq. handy box hanging in mid-air is listed to be mounted permanently.

Some strain reliefs and cord grips, but, some of the wiring methods and uses of cords look real low-budget.
Posted By: arseegee

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/21/05 02:15 AM

S.O., S.O., Its off to work we go!
Posted By: John Steinke

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/21/05 02:51 AM

I hate to say this, but the intall might actually be legit, if messy looking.
Drop cords....those plugs coming down from the ceiling...are a common way to power machinery. It works very well, and often places the cord in a place where it's out of the way (how often have you tripped over a pipe or raceway set on the floor?).
The two-screw connectors are actually listed for connecting flexible cords...look at the note on the box they come in.
The prohibition of flexible cord above a dropped ceiling dates from 2002...so that would be OK if older than that.
Many of the cords look as if they came with the machines- in which case using them is proper.

Several of the parts used are not cheap, and show some attention to detail.

One area of possible concern....flexible cords can not be uses as a substitute for permanent wiring (400.8(1)). The long run across a ceiling may be such an area of violation. (Drop cords typically drop straight down, not run horizontally).

I can't find it right now (someone help me here!), but I know that the NEC also requires pendant boxes to have the cord enter through a threaded hub...so the use of the 4-square boxes is a violation.
Posted By: electure

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/21/05 12:19 PM

'99 - 370.23(h) '02 - 314.23(H)

(1) Flexible Cord. A box shall be supported from a multiconductor cord or cable in an approved manner that protects the conductors against strain, such as a strain-relief connector threaded into a box with a hub.
Posted By: safetygem

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/21/05 01:50 PM

The pictures here just make me say Hmmmm. They certainly demonstrate a potential ( and in a couple of circumstances definite) violations of various sections of the NEC as well as the OSHA regulations.

John wrote:
Quote
I hate to say this, but the intall might actually be legit, if messy looking.
Drop cords....those plugs coming down from the ceiling...are a common way to power machinery.


I think fundamentally I understand your position (as well as your later clarification on the "permanent" use of flexible cord. But, I would have to say that virtually all of these uses would violate 400.8(1). BTW, the equivalent OSHA standard is 1910.305(g)(1)(iii)(A).

The only exception to the above might (and I say might) be the second picture. In this circumstance I believe the cord is being properly used to provide a pendant receptacle in accordance with 400.7(1). The other pendants made with utility/handy boxes are a definite no...no and violations of listing and labeling.

Another interesting thing to consider with some of these pictures (although I don't see too much evidence of it) is the possibly of noise or vibration. Often with machinery, if its operation may transmit hazardous vibration to the electrical equipment, then you may need to use a flexible cord in accordance with 400.7(7). But... I don't think that was the reason it was use in this case. Here I think we have a lazy EC.

BTW, the equivalent sections of the OSHA regulations to NEC 400.7 and 400.8 are 1910.305(g)(1)(i) and (g)(1)(iii). Mr. Tanke if unable to convince the EC to change the installation based on the NEC should attempt to enforce the equivalent OSHA standards for his workplace or risk a citation during a "visit" from an OSHA CSHO.

Edited to correct spelling errors. [Linked Image] Gotta get my fat fingers limbered up before I start using the keyboard. [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by safetygem (edited 01-21-2005).]
Posted By: Michael Tanke

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/21/05 07:37 PM

I would like to thank the true electrical professionals on this site that have assisted me with this issue (including Mr. Tedesco who helped get this posted). Thank you!
Posted By: Joe Tedesco

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/21/05 11:36 PM

Michael

You are welcome! I am happy that also have OSHA references too.

PS: Please continue to send pictures and ask questions about the problems you face where electrical systems are involved.
Posted By: dstanford

Re: Flexible Cord Issues - 01/24/05 01:01 AM

what is the purpose of the myers hub on picture 14? i am sure the romex connector connected to it is not waterproof.
looks like the installer had himself a cost plus job from all the kellems and myers hubs
the whole install really is bad and i am sure being at a plant no permit was even pulled
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