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Illustrated Changes to the NEC, 2002 Edition - Part 1

Article 110

Requirements For Electrical Installations

110.26 Spaces About Electrical Equipment

A new sentence was added, which addresses exit door requirements (panic hardware) for rooms containing large electrical equipment. This section now reads:

(C) Entrance to Working Space
(2) Large Equipment.
At least one entrance measured not less than 24 in. wide and 6.5 ft. high shall be provided at each end of the working space for equipment rated 1200A or more having a width of over 6 ft. containing overcurrent devices, switching devices, or control devices. Where the entrance to the working space has a door(s), the door(s) must open in the direction of egress and it must be equipped with panic hardware or other devices that will open the door under simple pressure. Figure 110–9

Intent: This change addresses the concern for the safety of qualified persons who work on energized equipment and may need to exit from the area in which the equipment is contained during an emergency. The personnel door must allow an injured worker to easily exit the area, without having to operate a doorknob.
Author’s Comment: Since this requirement is contained in the NEC, the electrical contractor is responsible to insure that panic hardware is installed at these locations. Many electrical contractors are offended at being held liable for nonelectrical responsibilities, but this rule should be a little less offensive, given that it is designed to save electricians’ lives.

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