Receptacle Plugs Hung From Flexible Cords

5 replies [Last post]
garyjgatf's picture
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Joined: 2014-02-20

I have a question regarding a potential violation of both the NEC and OSHA regulations regarding recepticles hung from flexible cords. The issue is the connection of a metal recptable box with either 2 or 4 outlets to a flexible cord that has been dropped from a junction box in the ceiling of an industrial operation. The box is either laying on the floor or suspended in the air and they are being used to plug in equipment. I am fairly certain that this may be a violation of both the NEC and OSHA regulations, but I need to know specifically what parts of the code this situation would violate. I would appreciate any and all feedback.
 
Thanks! 
 

engineerbill's picture
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Joined: 2013-10-29

While I don't have the expertise to comment on the issue, the seeming contradiction of the title (confusing use of language) concerns me. "Receptacle" implies a female connector, while "plug" implies a male connector, so there's a built-in contradiction. After reading the question, I understand, of course ... but it helps everyone when we choose words carefully. The word "plug" is actually unnecessary ...

rbarnett's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-04

Article 314 covering boxes does permit boxes to be supported from a pendant cord. This is 314.23(H)(1). The conductors must be protected with some kind of strain relief so the terminals are not carrying the weight of the cord and box.

The issue may be in the type of box you are using for the receptacles. Boxes that are intended for permanent installation in a wall are generally not acceptable for the wiring method you describe. These boxes typically have knockouts which could potentially present a safety hazard should one becomes open. In Code language we would say the box must be "suitable for use" per 110.3(A), and should therefore somehow be identified by the manufacturer that the box is suitable to be suspended from a cord pendant. So, I think a plastic FS or FD box would most likely work well for your application.
Hope that all helps.

Carl D Boe's picture
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Joined: 2013-11-18

What is the UL or other listing, acceptable by your AJH, for tte Box and its installation instructions?

If its not designed and listed for that use, is that not a violation of the NEC as well as OSHA and most other Codes?

rbarnett's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-04

Is there a box that manufacturer says, "May be supported from cord pendant..." as part of its listing? I dunno!

mdshunk's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-14

There is listed "buss drop cord," but there are only a couple boxes recognized from specialized manufacturers that may be supported from buss drop cord. In general practice, we'd use an FSE box with a cord grip connector in the hub.

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