In Part 1, we noted what lets the NEC spell out the meaning of OSHA’s “Suitability for installation and use” requirement. However, sometimes when the safety director or supervisor isn’t familiar with the NEC, the NEC requirements don’t get implemented or even referenced. Instead, that person “interprets” what OSHA means by “suitability.”
You can tell when this is happening by detecting some signs:
- Blocked ventilation. This problem exists more frequently on operating sites than on construction sites. Look at transformer vents to see if items are stacked in front of them, and at busway to see if items are stacked very close by. Vented transformers and busway aren’t listed for such usage.
- Portable cords fastened to surfaces. Portable cords are meant for temporary use. When they are run in lieu of a permanent Chapter 3 wiring method, it’s an unsuitable use.
- Pipe materials used with, or as, raceway. Use only fittings listed for electrical installations. For raceway, use only methods named by Articles 342 – 392.
- Raceway used to support wiring of other systems. It’s an unsuitable use of raceway to use it, for example, as a support for the PA system wiring by cable-tying the speaker wires to the exterior of the raceway.
These kinds of violations tend to happen when unqualified people are doing electrical work (yet another OSHA violation). If you see such things, management has serious compliance problems.