Panel screw hits a live wire

While replacing the cover on this panel, the upper right screw came in contact with a 10 ga line. Lots of sparks! Don’t rember having time to jump. Stirred by not shaken. :slight_smile:


Thank God you’re all right.

Yes, I’m glad you’re okay too.

Was the insulation compromised?..not a pointy screw I hope.

Hi Ray,

Glad you’re OK, and the underwear will come clean after a couple of hot washes :wink:

This is a timely reminder to members to wear safety glasses when inspecting panels, the real hazard from these incidents is not just the risk of a shock but also eye injury from the arc flash.

Be safe


One thing I consciously check now days is the proximity of any of the interior wiring when I take a panel cover off. I find many times someone has replaced a misplaced screw with a drywall screw, a sheet metal screw or a wood screw. I carry a few extra panel screws in my truck so I do not have to use the pointed screws to replace a panel cover. If I find a wire directly behind the screw hole in the panel box I gingerly move it out of the line with the screws. Got a scare a few years back so I am very much aware of this now. Glad to hear you didn’t get zapped.

Glad to hear your OK. I suppose you were wearing the proper PPE for opening a HOT panel… Right?

At the very least, wear some good gloves and some eye protection.:cool:

Thanks for the concern, believe me its not the first time. Just out of interest the panel cover screws were the correct screws. When I put the screw in I felt a little resistance, thinking it was a rusted screw or thread. Turns out to be the wire interferring with the screw.

Most all the fuses in panel were over fused. These were all “delay” fuses most of them 25 amp on 14 ga.

A couple of years ago while putting a cover back on and putting the screw in I got a shock. The panel was in the bathroom of a restaurant.

A reminder for everyone to pay attention when dealing with electricity.


“First, do no harm”.
When you start taking things apart you have some responsibility to get them back together without blowing anything up. I get a little nervous when folks of varying qualifications start poking around in service panels. Education is the key. Perhaps NACHI should have a certification protocol for what you do and what you look for before you can open these things.

I came across a first the other day. Panel cover was NAILED in. I refused to take them out. Told the listing agent that IF the seller wanted to have the nails removed, I would then inspect the panel but I WOULD not under any circumstances renail the panel cover on. After inspection, the cover was the least of the worries. I figure I saved the electrician a step, because he doesn’t have to fix the cover when he fixes all the screw ups inside.

Agree completely … :!:

And in addition to the other suggestions, make sure ya use insulated electricians screwdrivers when you are anywhere near live panels/wires, to help make sure you dont go “live” also if something bad does happen (like the Gardner Bender GS-83 set for about $5 at … pretty cheap potential life saver … :wink: )

Take a look at this topic I started a while back too …

And keep in mind 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”.

JMO & 2-nickels … and stay SAFE … :wink:

I believe that here in the States, A bathroom is a prohibited location for a service panel.

Panel bonding…
I am always concerned about “return” paths especially since it could be me:(

Why don’t the equipment Mfg’s use service panel “hangers” anymore? You know the kind that can hold a dead front in position so you can screw the darn thing on without holding it in one hand and using the other to turn the screws!:frowning:

I believe at the show I am doing in OHIO I will go into alot of extra detail about things like this…maybe those people at the show can get some NACHI certification for attending…:slight_smile:

John said…

  • I believe that here in the States, A bathroom is a prohibited location for a service panel.

Yes I think that is the same here.

Hi Rob
I’ve never seen the need for using a screwdriver with an insulated blade if all you are using it for is to remove/install panel screws. Cordless rechargeable screwdrivers make life so much easier. Mine gets put on the floor beside the panel cover and doesn’t get picked up again until the panel cover gets reinstalled.

Right you are Raymond. The trouble is, most homeowners either don’t know that or don’t care when they’re finishing off their basement without a permit.

I carry some blunt panel screws too, but don’t you find that if someone has used a drywall screw, the thread on the panel is nackered?


What a wonderful word.

And if it isn’t a word, well, it should be. :smiley:

It’s a Brit thing, and it’s knackered…with a K.

More than you need to know…

Yes the old threads are usually somewhat fanged up and I make a point of putting that in the report as well. Just as often I will find they only put enough screws in to barely hold the cover in place and leave half with nothing in the hole.