How would you handle this?

I am working on a remodeling job currently, so obviously this is not an inspection however it brought to mind ‘what if it was and inspection and what would the best way to handle this be’?

Old house, mix of old and new wiring, the menu of what breaker connects to what is missing most of the info. Needed to trace the wire back to the breaker so I removed the dead front. OSM (Oh Shoot Moment)!! the bottom of the panel was laying wet with water however there was no moisture evident on the outside, it was a pool of rust so I know this has been an ongoing problem. Upon closer examination from a safe distance I found water droplets forming and originating inside the sheathing for the SEC. I went outside to investigate…the seal at the top of the meter base was about 1/3 gone and I deduced this would be a good place to get water to enter the system.

The house is vacant so I contacted the owner to advise and have an electrician come to take care of it.

The big question is had this been an inspection, and had I removed the dead front should I have risked my own health putting the front back in place to make it safe for anyone else that might happen along prior to the electrician, or what else should I have done?? Tuff call for me, I would likely have re-installed while holding my breath trying to protect the rest of the world but I am not sure that would have been the wise thing to do.

What do ya think??:shock:

reinstall cover? no way.
would have strung something in front of the panel, string, tape, anything i could have found
this is a good reason to take caution tape with you on inspections.

also would contact the owner, along with leaving notes on all external doors.

If you were an employee, you would have needed some PPE to remove that cover to comply with OSHA rules. If you are a sole prop., then you are permitted to forgo those rules at your own peril.

The presence of water in the panel poses no more danger to a person removing or installing the dead front than a dry panel would. After all, the panel is made of metal. The same hazard is present, whether the panel has some water in the bottom of it or not.

Get some PPE, and use it. Take this as a lesson.

In regards to the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) What would you recommend? I’ve alway try to wear safety glasses but are there other recommended items per OSHA? Like gloves,… shoes,… etc? What does Paul the “electrical guru” wear if anything…
To answer Donalds post,… Id leave the panel off and inform the sellers, or listing agent of its condition AND put up a barrier if feasable.

I would recommend dielectric overshoes, arc flash face shield, FR shirt and trousers, and arc flash gloves.

lol…no comment…:slight_smile:

Why does the “GURU” always get dragged into these things…lol

Also lets remember I am a Master Electrician with 20 years experience…what I might do is not always what I would say do to home inspectors.

Only you KNOW your comfort level when working around a panel, I know 100’s of electricians and I can venture to say not a one or maybe a few of them uses a face shield…however we use Safety Glasses, and I wear Cotton Clothing and nice rubber sole work books from wolverine…well you are hearing it right for gloves…sorry I wont change…but I dont wear em…to me I feel I lose some TOUCH on the panel.

In my seminars I show you the proper methods for going into panels, some guidelines to be aware of and some practicle methods to safeguard yourself.

But remember you are observing the panel…not going into the panel past the threashold of it.

However…if anything…and we are adults here…wear Safety Glasses as the least and open the panel and hold it CLOSED DOOR directly in front of you as you remove it…using it as a shield until you have moved back enough to have clearance.

If you felt you are qualified to remove the cover .
If you are having trouble figuring what you should do now then please do not remove any more covers.
I do think you are an accident looking for a place to happen .

Roy Cooke

Look…lets all not get FREAKY here…my opinion would have been note it down…take some pictures and put the cover back on…I never leave a cover off…my luck some kid comes along and sticks something in it…flame me if you want…I am a BIG BOY…I take full responsibility for my actions…

Personally if I remove a panel cover…I replace it…and make note about it and pass the info on to the people I need to…you were at no more risk than you were when you removed it…just now replacing it with a little MORE caution…

Man…with practice and knowledge comes Experience…:slight_smile:

My thoughts too, after post, a roll of caution tape might be a good addition to my bag of tools.


Thanks one and all, even you Paul (typed while laughing), for your thoughts and opions.

Marc, I am self employed, when I had employees I wanted to kill them at times however OSHA wouldn’t let me however I actively worked with them on a safety program and they said they didn’t care if I killed myself…so you are right.

My strong point is not electric, I can turn a light on and off with the best of them but after that I have alot to learn…I will be at the electical training in Philly in Feb for sure!

I do agree with Paul that it is a comfort level that allows us to go deeper into some areas than say another would, I sure I would hop up on a roof with not a second thought however Paul or Marc, for example, would inspect from the ladder. I don’t see this as an unsafe practice but rather knowing your limitations due to the experience that you have in the field.

Caution tape, full and immediate disclosure to all interested parties and bold print in the report!

Live to fight another day.

Thanks again to all.

“Do NOT open a panel that is either very rusted or shows signs of moisture”

The above statement is in the online course…however in your case you did not observe ANY of the caution markers until you had ALREADY opened it so the case is MOOT.

My opinion is replace the cover as you found it…and report it as needed. Again HI’s are more than qualified to open electrical panels in my opinion as long as they have some basic training…most HI’s do before they start in formal business so I have no worries here.

so just after learning how to remove covers can we be assured that the very first inspection will go exactly as it did when the training took plaace, what is the exact method taught, is there a resource or video, and where can we find the information discussed here in the sop.

When we learn to drive a car we are THRUST into the world with a basic knoweldge of the rules of the road and a hope and a prayer that the OTHER guy will also know these rules and not KILL us on the road.

Most course that I have seen and that would include ITA’s which I do every year cover the basics of this and so on and in my opinion is a good basis for the HI. You will always have ever changing things in this profession and you have to learn to adapt and overcome and learn basic skills that help afford you a safer approach to working with electrical panels.

There are basic principles that take place to ensure a methodology the approach of opening a panel such as if you Ticker It, Back Hand it, Thermal It down to the method of removal…many things are standardized.

What is important to note is that and ARC or Electricity does not care if you are a home inspector or electrician and everyone must assume the possible risks when dealing with it…part of the job.

Mike Holt just released a report of injury and deaths from electricution and guess what…had electricians on the list but no Home Inspectors.

So with that said I think the training groups around the country are doing a fine job in training HI’s on proper methods and so on…again this is not brain surgery and electricians like myself are given WAY to much credit for being safe…when in truth we as electricians take risks everyday…just part of the business.