Improperly wired cord cap

Richard Graves, owner of Graves Electric in Corpus Christi, Texas, has been a licensed master electrician and contractor since 1986. He was called out to look into a problem with a heat lamp circuit that was a part of a commercial food-warming table in a pizza parlor. The customer said that every time the heat lamp cord was plugged into the wall receptacle, fire would "shoot out of the receptacle" and the circuit breaker would trip. Upon arriving at the scene, he made sure that the power to the receptacle was turned off and removed the receptacle from the outlet box. The receptacle was wired correctly, but it was fried like a sausage.

Richard replaced the cooked receptacle and removed the cord cap that was attached to the Type SO cord coming from the food warmer table/heat lamps. This was the first time he ever saw a cord cap wired in such a manner. When asked, the head pizza man said one of the persons that worked in the kitchen had wired it up. He worked as an electrician once for a shoemaker.

It was lucky that no one got hurt. The cook was warned that the next time that person is seen with a screwdriver and a piece of electrical apparatus, to please redirect that person to the pots and pans instead.

Dangerous misuse of tool

Jim Friesen, estimator and project manager for Prime Electric, has been a journeyman electrician for more than 25 years and sent this picture to my attention.

This switch had a damaged handle release mechanism that would not allow the access door to be opened, even in the "off" position. When the electrician removed the cover plate above the switches, he found that the "A" phase line side jaws on the switch were so badly damaged that a pair of vise grip pliers was used in an effort to restore service.

The shopping mall maintenance supervisor said the pliers had been in place for about six months while they waited for the contractor who installed them to come up with a price for a permanent repair. This dangerous misuse of vise grip pliers should never have been permitted. Section 110-12(c) was violated here. "There shall be no damaged parts that may adversely affect safe operation or mechanical strength of the equipment such as parts that are broken, bent, cut or deteriorated by corrosion, chemical action or overheating."

Hole in the bed

The first thing I do when I enter my hotel room when on the road is look for a receptacle so I can plug in my computer. I found this situation recently. Section 210-60(a) requires receptacle outlets to be installed in guest rooms in hotels, motels and similar occupancies in accordance with Section 210-52. Section 210-60(b) covers receptacle placement. When Section 210-52(a) is applied, the total number of receptacle outlets shall not be less than the minimum number that would comply with the provisions of that section.

These receptacle outlets are allowed to be located conveniently for permanent furniture layout. At least two receptacle outlets must be readily accessible. Where receptacles are installed behind the bed, they must be located to prevent the bed from contacting any attachment plug that may be installed, or the receptacle must be provided with a suitable guard.