Circuit panel safety question

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My wife asks: "Is there any protection to be gained by placing a thick rubber mat in front of the circuit panel where someone working on the panel would normally stand?" It would seem it would have to help a little.
I suspect my turning my head upside inside the box and pushing wires aside to read the label information has got her worried again. (-:
Might have something to do with my neighbor who was going to move the dryer for his wife for her birthday and ended up breaking the main gas line. Said the emergency gas tech that responded "it's a miracle you didn't blow yourselves up." Fortunately the wife had the presence of mind to have dialed "9 + 1" as he turned the wrench. It only took a second to dial the last "1" and get emergency services. He had no idea where the shutoffs were located, either. He figured not much gas would leak out by the time he fitted the new flexible pipe. <jeez> The gas guys don't screw around, either. They immediately shut off the gas at the meter right after they rolled up and saw the panicked homeowners standing outside.
--
Bobby G.



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On 03/02/2014 10:03 PM, Robert Green wrote:

It certainly would not hurt anything to place a rubber mat there but it's not likely to make anything safer.
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On 3/3/2014 6:45 AM, philo wrote:

Less likely to have a current path to ground through your legs and feetsies.
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Most shoes are pretty good insulators at 120V which is the most you would get to ground (in the US) anyway. Since the panel enclosure is grounded and there are terminals of both phases (polarity technically) in the panel, you have a much better chance of getting across 120V or even 240V in the panel itself. This is of course where the old "one hand" idea came from, but as we all know in today's overstuffed panels that's simply not viable.
The two most important safety things you can do are to make sure you have good footing i.e. you aren't climbing on junk to get to the panel, and that you have good lighting so you can clearly see inside the panel to avoid contact with exposed terminals and bus bars.
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On Monday, March 3, 2014 9:28:39 AM UTC-5, Pete C. wrote:

I like those panels that they use in Canada that you see on the Holmes TV shows. They use a separate cover for the area at and above the main breaker. Without removing that, nothing below it that you could come in contact with is energized with the main open. Even with a regular panel, with the main off, it's pretty hard to contact the incoming service wires as you're usually not doing anything near that and if you are, well you just need to know what you;re doing and be careful. Personally, I'm most worried when I'm taking off the panel cover on one where you haven't been before. You don't know what someone may have done inside there, so I'm always careful to take the panel straight off, not let it tip back inside. My worst fear is the panel comes off, a corner dips back inside, touches something, and there you are, with the steel panel in both hands, standing on a concrete floor.
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<stuff snipped>

I wonder how many electrocutions occur at the circuit panel? Wiki says: <<There were 550 electrocutions in the US in 1993, which translates to 2.1 deaths per million inhabitants. At that time, the incidence of electrocutions was decreasing.[15] Electrocutions in the workplace make up the majority of these fatalities. From 1980-1992, an average of 411 workers were killed each year by electrocution.[13] >>

Amen. I even have two clamp lamps pulling from different circuits aimed at the panel to increase the chances that they'll always be sufficient light. And two LED flashlights with magnets. And a lighted magnifying glass (it's been hell trying to read the label!). And even a little set of shelves next to the box that hold tools, meters, spare breakers, etc. Fortunately my panel is just at eye level and fairly easy to access.
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panel

<stuff snipped>

At least it would make for more comfortable standing when working on the panel. The issue seems to be the choice of mats - some types of material are better insulators than others. The search continues.
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On 3/3/2014 5:18 PM, Robert Green wrote:

I put a carpet sample on the cement floor in front of a circuit panel box, one time. Much more comfortable feetsies while checking breakers.
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Will it give a false sense of security? I hear that when they put air bags in cars, people just drove faster. "Law of conservation of risk"
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wrote:

panel

aside

dryer

Said

the

were

they

Nah. It would probably just make it more comfortable to stand on the bare concrete. I've had great respect for the inside of circuit panels ever since I saw an electrician melt the tip off a screwdriver in the mid-1960's when we had a new house built. Molten metal sputtered onto the inside of the box. Very impressive.
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On Thu, 6 Mar 2014 10:50:06 -0500, "Robert Green"

Sounds impressive. I wonder if there is any way to use that breaker-box method to make jewelry. Or guns.
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<stuff snipped>

There are actually a number of sputtering methods used to produce exotic metals but I don't think they use a circuit panel, a screwdrive and a careless electrician to do it. (-:
It was a good reminder that even gloved up with long sleeves, goggles are probably a good thing to wear, too. Pop a blob of melted steel in your eye and it's probably lights out forever in that eye.
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On 3/2/2014 11:03 PM, Robert Green wrote:

Possibly, might help. Since it's possible to shock oneself from a hot wire through the body, to ground under your feet. Not wicked expensive, and might help.
Dry wood such as plywood can also help.
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..,,,snip....

You were indeed lucky.
When young i 'inherited' many electrical tools from my father, such as wire strippers and pliers. The reason he gave them to me was that they were damaged by discharges. So, I had to file off some section of 'welded' metal blobs to make them work. Still have a few of them. He got them from people on his job site who either didn't check, or didn't put a red flag and tape on the breakers, or in one case 'just turned on for a second' ?! because someone needed electricity for just that simple little time. That someone got fired. And, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
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On 3/4/2014 10:03 AM, RobertMacy wrote:

I had a helper one time. I was reaching into a roof HVAC unit to check for motor belt tension. I heard a voice behind me say "Hey, I'm going to turn it on to see how it works". As you can expect, I backed away from the equipment, rapidly.
Foolishly, I did let him work with me, cleaning carpets on another job He sprinkled water on the shampooer (ancient equipment, two wire plug). Told him not to, he did a second time. I fired him again.
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<stuff snipped>

I still have the screwdriver an electrician partially melted futzing around inside a circuit panel. I kept it to remind me of the power of electricity. Reminds me of the local skeet range that has a board that contains all the shotgun barrel ends (over 20) that exploded, usually after being fired after the shooter let the barrel get plugged by mud. Bulged barrels, torn barrels, shredded barrels and one that looked like an eggbeater because it shredded in 1/4" ribbons.
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I was on the maintenance end of a project where others climbed up a ladder next to 100's of telephone poles. They got talked into buying an fiberglass extension ladder for the project, much heavier than aluminum would have been.
And the ladder actually never went as high as the wires, only high enough that someone standing on the ladder could reach the lowest wire.
But we still used it.

Me too. The connecting a surge protector is on the list, especially if it gets opened for any other reason.

Isn't your heart in the middle of your chest? That's supposed to be the weak link when it comes to electricity.
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Well, I've gotten 110 AC several times (and one time I figured out that my train transformer was broken, becuase I'd opened it up and had been handling it for an hour and never got a shock, even though I had forgotten to unplug it. The plug was broken from the wire.)
And I once got 2000 volts DC, from a television. I didn't hold on and it knocked me across the room and dislocated a shoulder than hadn't been out for 15 years. I might have been on my haunches instead of my knees. That was a violation of Philo's or Robert's rules. I was being careful and don't even know what I touched.
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wrote:

The beauty of a colour TV (CRT) is you didn't HAVE to touch anything. With 6000volts you just had to get CLOSE. 6000 was on B&W sets - big colour sets can be as high as 25000+
I had a REAL old TV transformer straighten me out real quick - and at 6"I was taller than the basement ceiling height. My hard head drove a nail (head) up through the linoleum flooring , hitting it on the sharp end from below.
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On 3/7/2014 12:25 AM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

You had a five inch ceiling height? Sorry to hear that.
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