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 2008 NEC.


Mike Whitt, electrical contractor/instructor, Asheboro, N.C., sent us this picture of a cord that was in use on a construction site. “As the Code official was returning to his vehicle after making his inspection, he stepped on the cord, and you can see the results,” says Whitt. “In the picture, you can see his footprint and where the cord was pushed into the ground. Also take note of the tire track. This was located right where trucks drive in and out. The inspector sent me the picture and then called me on the phone to discuss the GFCI receptacle that this cord was plugged into.”

“Section 590.6(A) addresses the use of GFCI protection for all 125V, single-phase, 15-, 20-, and 30-ampere receptacle outlets that are used on temporary installations for tools and equipment. As a contractor, I have seen installations that I know have been used for several years, with no tests being done on the GFCI devices at all. We just install them and call for an inspection. The inspector comes and looks at the bracing and grounding and calls the power company. But from this day forward, my temporary installations and services will adhere to regular testing, and those tests will be documented and on file. These devices should always be tested and maintained per their instructions. See 110.3(B).”


Keith Budka, president of Budka Electric Corp., Nesconset, N.Y., was amazed to find “a new use for Ziplock containers.” This installation is a clear violation of the Code.

As per 404.5, “Time switches, flashers, and similar devices shall be of the enclosed type or shall be mounted in cabinets or boxes or equipment enclosures. Energized parts shall be barriered to prevent operator exposure when making manual adjustments or switching.”

An exception notes, “Devices mounted so they are accessible only to qualified persons shall be permitted without barriers, provided they are located within an enclosure such that any energized parts within 152 mm (6.0 inches) of the manual adjustment or switch are covered by suitable barriers.”

Found a Code Violation? E-mail your photos (no cell phone images, please) to Joe Tedesco at