As usual, never consider the following commentary associated with these photos as a formal interpretation of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Without criticizing anyone or any product, the following scenarios present us with serious safety questions.

All references are based on the 2005 NEC.


This is a problem I see all too often. How hard can it be to properly identify and label circuits? And who thinks cardboard is equivalent to a piece of metal when it comes to protection?

See 110.22, and the new 408.4, “Every circuit and circuit modification shall be legibly identified as to its clear, evident, and specific purpose or use. The identification shall include sufficient detail to allow each circuit to be distinguished from all others. The identification shall be included in a circuit directory that is located on the face or inside of the panel door in the case of a panelboard, and located at each switch on a switchboard.”

As per 408.7, “Unused openings for circuit breakers and switches shall be closed using identified closures, or other approved means that provide protection substantially equivalent to the wall of the enclosure.”


This arrangement might have looked good when it was first installed, but someone forgot to think about the environmental conditions in which they were placing this equipment.

As noted in a portion of 110.11, “Unless identified for use in the operating environment, no conductors or equipment shall be located in damp or wet locations; where exposed to gases, fumes, vapors, liquids, or other agents that have a deteriorating effect on the conductors or equipment; or where exposed to excessive temperatures. FPN No. 1: See 300.6 for protection against corrosion.”

As per 300.6, “Raceways, cable trays, cable bus, auxiliary gutters, cable armor, boxes, cable sheathing, cabinets, elbows, couplings, fittings, supports, and support hardware shall be of materials suitable for the environment in which they are to be installed.”

More specific requirements for the protection of ferrous metal equipment, as shown in this photo, are noted in 300.6(A) and 300.6(A)(3).

Found a Code Violation? E-mail your photos to Joe Tedesco at