Breaker clip in electrical panel

This clip was on the breaker for the water heater. I do not understand the purpose. Insight?

Google breaker lockout or lockoff device.

Was it labeled for water heater?

Yes, it was labeled water heater

Appliances Rated Over 300 Volt-Amperes or 1/8 Horsepower. For permanently connected appliances rated over 300 volt-amperes or 1/8 hp, the branch-circuit switch or circuit breaker shall be permitted to serve as the disconnecting means where the switch or circuit breaker is within sight from the appliance or is capable of being locked in the open position.

Will this bracket still alow the breaker to trip when not locked? It looks like it is in front of it and with the panel closed it looks like it will not allow it to trip

This is one I just looked at this morning

Yes, a circuit breaker even when locked in the closed or ON position will trip normally. There are sections in the NEC where the CB is required to be locked in the ON position.

it will still trip. the purpose i believe is so that it can be locked in the off position for safety when being serviced

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That is correct, These are used when the HWH does not have a local disconnecting means within sight.

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On New Home Construction/ Warranty Inspections, find them with locks on them. Safety first on Job Site, never know who will be pokeing around when work still ongoing


Thanks for posting that photo. I was going to say that I have never seen one of these things that someone actually put a lock on it. In your photo the CB’s are locked in the ON position so someone cannot shut them off.

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