Industrial Electrical Code Violations You May Be Overlooking

Industrial Electrical Code Violations You May Be Overlooking

As an electrician, I am often called in to inspect and repair electrical systems in industrial settings. Over the years, I have seen many code violations that facility managers overlook or are simply unaware of. In this article, I will discuss some of the most common industrial electrical code violations and how to avoid them.

Improper Conductor Sizing

One of the most frequent violations I come across is undersized conductors. The National Electrical Code (NEC) includes specific guidelines for selecting the proper wire size based on expected load and ambient temperature. Undersized wiring can lead to excessive voltage drop, overheating, and potential fire hazards.

When sizing conductors, I always refer to NEC Articles 310 and 400. I ensure the conductors can handle the full ampacity of the circuit at expected temperatures. I also derate ampacity as needed for ambient temperatures above 30°C, more than three current-carrying conductors bundled together, and other stipulations in the code.

Tips for Avoiding Undersized Wiring

Lack of Overcurrent Protection

The NEC requires overcurrent protection for all conductor sizes. Overcurrent devices like circuit breakers and fuses open the circuit when excessive current flows. This protects the wiring from overheating and potential fires.

Common violations I see related to overcurrent protection include:

Complying with Overcurrent Protection Requirements

Insufficient Conductor Insulation

Industrial facilities often have wiring exposed to physical damage, chemicals, moisture, and extreme temperatures. The NEC requires using insulation rated for the specific environment.

Some mistakes I frequently notice include:

Ensuring Proper Insulation Material and Protection

Improper Conductor Terminations

Secure, robust connections are critical for safety and reliability. Unfortunately, I often find improper terminations in industrial settings due to rushed jobs or lack of expertise.

Some examples of faulty terminations:

Best Practices for Reliable Terminations

Inadequate Conduit and Box Fill

The NEC specifies the maximum percentage conduit and junction boxes can be filled with wiring. Exceeding these limits can damage insulation and generate excessive heat.

I regularly find boxes overfilled beyond code due to:

Avoiding Overfilled Raceways and Enclosures

By being aware of these common industrial electrical violations, facility managers can avoid potential safety hazards and code citations. Let me know if you have any other questions! I am always happy to do a thorough inspection and point out any issues.