Can you spot the Code violations?

Hint: Systematic mess.

Find the Answer

How well do you know the Code? Think you can spot violations the original installer either ignored or couldn't identify? Here's your chance to moonlight as an electrical inspector and second-guess someone else's work from the safety of your living room or office. Joe Tedesco, who has a knack for finding shoddy electrical work, did the dirty work and found this mess. Now it's your turn to identify the violation.

January Winners

Our three winners this month (Michael J. Lewis, P.E., director of engineering field services, Fidelity Real Estate Company, LLC, Durham, N.C.; Thomas B. Carron, P.E., senior engineer, Integrated Design Solutions, Architecture, Engineering, Interiors & Technology, Troy, Mich.; and Brian Burke, P.E., senior electrical engineer, High Voltage Maintenance Corp., Middletown, Ohio) all correctly identified the following Code violations associated with the January 2008 photograph.

As per 406.9(B) [Grounding-Pole Identification], “Grounding-type receptacles, adapters, cord connections, and attachment plugs shall have a means for connection of an equipment-grounding conductor to the grounding pole. A terminal for connection to the grounding pole shall be designated by one of the following:”

Of the four options in this section, let's focus on item (3), which states, “A similar green-colored connection device, in the case of adapters. The grounding terminal of a grounding adapter shall be a green-colored rigid ear, lug, or similar device. The equipment grounding connection shall be so designed that it cannot make contact with current-carrying parts of the receptacle, adapter, or attachment plug. The adapter shall be polarized.”

In addition, the winners also cited 200.11 [Polarity of Connections], which states, “No grounded conductor shall be attached to any terminal or lead so as to reverse the designated polarity.”


Correctly identify the Code violation(s) in this month's photo — in 200 words or less — and you could win something to put in your toolbox. E-mail your response to Joe Tedesco at, and he'll select three winners (excluding manufacturers and prior winners) at random from the correct submissions. Winners will receive a set of insulated hand tools from Ideal Industries, Inc., valued at more than $125.* The set includes 9.25-inch insulated side-cutting pliers, 10-inch insulated tongue-and-groove pliers, and a 0.25-inch × 6-inch insulated screwdriver.
* Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery of tools.