Electric Panel Inspection Safety

Originally Posted By: roconnor
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1. BEFORE TOUCHING ANYTHING ... wherever possible, put one hand in your pocket (I understand the left is better) ? or at least think that way (like keeping one behind your back).

2. BEFORE TOUCHING ANYTHING ... remove all rings and jewelry, and turn off your cell phone or beeper ... it could startle you when you need to concentrate. [added]

3. BEFORE TOUCHING ANYTHING ... make sure you have the required 30" wide by 36" deep clear working area in front of the panel, or request things be moved. [added]

4. BEFORE TOUCHING ANYTHING ... check for voltage on the panel and on any pipes/conduits around the panel with a voltage ticker and meter.

5. BEFORE TOUCHING ANYTHING ... always check around the panel for cables entering without fittings (possible nicks/shorts), burnt/scorched wires, panel grounding, and scorching around panel screws (panel screws may have contacted wires inside ... especially the long ones "Harry Homeowner" installed). The horror stories I could tell ... lol.

6. BEFORE TOUCHING ANYTHING ... make sure you have eye protection and at least 3 layers of insulation protection (options include no "apparent" power, insulated tools, electricians gloves, insulated work boots, and dry location/platform ? I am a big fan of using the small electrician gloves, eye protection and insulated boots, no matter what, anywhere near electricity). And you do NOT want to possibly be "grounded" like in a wet basement anywhere near electricity. [And use a nonmetallic flashlight.]

7. BEFORE TOUCHING ANYTHING ... look at the type of panel, where you are, and what might happen if you do remove the cover. Some types of panels have breakers that might just pop out and a separate frame ring that can drop on to the main service lugs if you are not very careful (any guesses on what type of panels?).

If at all possible, have a sparky walk you through a panel inspection. And I know others have said this, but let me repeat the mantra here ... DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING INSIDE A PANEL OR STICK ANYTHING INSIDE A PANEL!!!!!!! ?

Use common sense, and look for things that don?t look right. If you are not sure what you are doing or something doesn?t look right, bail to an electrician. It is okay to note in you report ... "full electrical panel inspection appeared unsafe ... it is recommend that a licensed electrician inspect the panel".

Maybe some sparkies could jump in here too on the safety issues as a reality check and if I missed anything. And check out the ?NACHI Tip of the Day? as there are some good ones relating to services and panels.


--
Robert O'Connor, PE
Eagle Engineering ?
Eagle Eye Inspections ?
NACHI Education Committee

I am absolutely amazed sometimes by how much thought goes into doing things wrong

Originally Posted By: Bill Emelander
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Robert,


Thanks I’ll keep this with me


Bill


Originally Posted By: Blaine Wiley
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Robert,


Those are excellent tips. May I add: I was taught, and still to this day, I keep my left arm behind my back, and my flashlight in my right hand while inspecting the inside of the panel. That way, you don't get comfortable and put your left hand somewhere it shouldn't be. OUCH

Blaine ![icon_biggrin.gif](upload://iKNGSw3qcRIEmXySa8gItY6Gczg.gif)


Originally Posted By: nlewis
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I’ll add this one:


Warn your clients not to stick there paws into the open panel box! ![eusa_naughty.gif](upload://nYl3dmRmAIH81yCdH9V96akYnNa.gif)


Originally Posted By: dvalley
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Robert,


Great tips on the pre-inspection of the SE before the initial inspection.


For those of you who didn’t go over Dennis’ post on Panel no no’s, This would be a good time to go over these at… http://www.nachi.org/bbsystem/viewtopic.php?t=1559


This is a very serious life threatening inspection. I don't think shortcuts should ever be taken on this matter. Be careful out there.
![](upload://g71w8typvXPmkWpkLyI0G4LZC8U.gif)


--
David Valley
MAB Member

Massachusetts Certified Home Inspections
http://www.masscertified.com

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."

Originally Posted By: Dennis Bozek
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Good points RC…and yes 120 volts can kill you. It’s all a matter of being aware of your surroundings and being in touch with what you are doing. Concentrate about what you are attempting to do…don’t let anything sway your mind from what lies in that electrical panel. One false move could be your last.



This information has been edited and reviewed for errors by your favorite resident sparky.

Originally Posted By: roconnor
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Blaine … I heard the same thing about the left hand/arm, which is the reason you try to at least think as though your left hand is in your pocket. Appears that the left is a more direct path through your heart, which is not a good thing if you get a nasty shock … icon_eek.gif



Robert O’Connor, PE


Eagle Engineering ?


Eagle Eye Inspections ?


NACHI Education Committee


I am absolutely amazed sometimes by how much thought goes into doing things wrong

Originally Posted By: Blaine Wiley
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Robert,


I thought that was called a "jump start". ![icon_lol.gif](upload://zEgbBCXRskkCTwEux7Bi20ZySza.gif) ![icon_lol.gif](upload://zEgbBCXRskkCTwEux7Bi20ZySza.gif) ![icon_lol.gif](upload://zEgbBCXRskkCTwEux7Bi20ZySza.gif)

Blaine


Originally Posted By: mrose
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Robert,


Good points.

Let me add:

1. Remove all rings and jewelry

2. Do not take a beeper or cell phones to the panel. If it sound you could be startled and become injured.

3. Be extra careful when removing the cover from a fused panel.

4. Do not stand on a wet floor when examining a panel.

5. Remove home owner items that may be close to the panel.

6. Be careful using metal flashlights when a panel is open.

Best regards,


--
Mike Rose
Cornerstone Home Inspection Co. LLC
Lawrenceville, GA

www.cornerstonehomeinspect.com

Originally Posted By: roconnor
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Mike … Some good points to remember.


I will add a few to the list ... ![icon_wink.gif](upload://ssT9V5t45yjlgXqiFRXL04eXtqw.gif)


--
Robert O'Connor, PE
Eagle Engineering ?
Eagle Eye Inspections ?
NACHI Education Committee

I am absolutely amazed sometimes by how much thought goes into doing things wrong

Originally Posted By: mmason
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Robert,


Thanks for the safety tips. You went into quite a bit of detail which will be very helful to me while inspecting electrical components. ![icon_lol.gif](upload://zEgbBCXRskkCTwEux7Bi20ZySza.gif)


--
Michael J. Mason
Mason Home Inspection
California Capitol NACHI Chapter President

Originally Posted By: dcarroll
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Some very good tips here. For people that still like to tap the panel with the back of their hand, it is an unsafe practice. The panel could be hot and you won’t feel a thing as long as you aren’t grounded. When the panel comes off and your using both hands to grasp the panel it could be too late.


Originally Posted By: jtedesco
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Protect yourself from electric shock and burn hazards


There are two hazards associated with electricity: electrical shock, which can shut down breathing and heart function even at very low levels; and, the risk of severe burns due to electrical arcing and arc blasts.

Before inspecting ANY electrical system they should learn how to protect themselves from both shock and burn hazards through the use of safe electrical work practices.

    Wear protective clothing and other personal protective equipment.

    Be alert at all times when near live parts operating at 50 volts or more and in situations where unexpected electrical hazards might exist.

    Don't work in areas containing live parts parts operating at 50 volts or more or other electrical hazards while your alertness is impaired due to illness, fatigue, or other reasons.

    Do not reach blindly into areas that might contain exposed live parts where an electrical hazard exists.

    Do not enter spaces containing live parts unless illumination is provided that enables you to perform your inspection work.

    Where lack of illumination or an obstruction precludes observation of the
    equipment to be inspected do not perform any task near live parts operating at 50 volts or more or where an electrical hazard exists.

    Conductive articles of jewelry and clothing such as watchbands, belt buckles, rings, etc., should be removed while inspection electrical systems.

    Wear nonconductive protective equipment for the face, neck, and chin whenever there is a danger of injury from exposure to electric arcs or flashes or from flying objects resulting from electrical explosion.

    Wear protective equipment for the eyes whenever there is danger of injury
    from electric arcs, flashes, or from flying objects resulting from electrical explosion.

    Wear flame retardant clothing wherever there is possible exposure to an electric arc flash above the threshold incident-energy level for a second degree burn.

    Flame retardant clothing can be provided as shirt and trousers, or as coveralls, or as a combination of jacket and trousers, or, for increased protection, as coveralls with jacket and trousers.


What safe electrical work practices do you follow?

www.painanddisability.com/injuries/injuries_electric/pictures.html


--
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

www.nachi.org/tedescobook.htm

Originally Posted By: roconnor
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



Joe … those are some excellent follow up comments and reinforcement of badly needed safety procedures/guidelines for home inspectors. I missed your post from a while back, and thought it couldn’t hurt to agree with your comments and reinforce the importance of safety when performing an inspection … icon_wink.gif



Robert O’Connor, PE


Eagle Engineering ?


Eagle Eye Inspections ?


NACHI Education Committee


I am absolutely amazed sometimes by how much thought goes into doing things wrong