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Lighting Up the Job

Lighting up the jobThe NEC requires illumination for all working spaces around service equipment, panelboards, or motor control centers [110.26(D)]. This brings up interesting safety considerations beyond merely sticking a lightstick in a corner and “checking off the box” on a compliance checklist.

  1. The average electrician is almost 50 today. That has implications for eyesight. Lighting too poor to work by was not the intention of [110.26(D)],      and it certainly won’t improve your safety record.
  2. The use of “working spaces” means the lighting must be available when the equipment power is off. It’s generally a good engineering practice to put lights on their own transformer and panel, but it’s also a good safety practice.
  3. Think beyond lighting the work area. Think of lighting the job. Lighting on its own transformer helps facilitate this, by allowing you to maintain normal lighting during lockout and tagout of electrical equipment.
  4. A good lighting design nearly always includes provisions for task lighting. Provide convenience receptacles for easy use of portable lights. Consider adding overhead hooks for hanging portable lights so that crews aren’t opening switchgear doors for this purpose.

For service panel work, you will need a separate power source to implement the above steps. This often means renting a generator. These two steps will improve safety and efficiency:

  1. Pour a cement pad outside, near each service, suitable for the generator.
  2. Provide permanent hookups that penetrate, then seal, the building envelope to keep heat in and fumes out. Wire/unwire as needed.

Source: Mark Lamendola | Mindconnection