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Thread: DB in Cupboard

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    DB in Cupboard

    Hi!

    Specified about the DB Location is among others:
    - It's height
    - If enclosed in a cupboard, that the Live Electrical Apparatus sign needs to be on the outside.
    - It needs to be accessible for operation and maintenance.

    If the DB is at the right height but in a cupboard and the cupboard is deep enough such that an average person can't reach far enough inside to reach the main switch and would need to climb on a step or chair to reach, is that acceptable?

    Thanks

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    HI

    I would say that it is not acceptable - I say that not knowing how far back your far back is.
    The reg's mention easily and readily accessible a couple of times and going to find a chair first in the event of a problem and needing to isolate the electrical installation in my eyes would not feel right.

    SANS 10142 - 6.6.1.9 Distribution boards shall be so positioned and arranged as to ensure
    safe operation and maintenance (see 5.3.8).


    5.3.8 Positioning and accessibility of electrical equipment
    Electrical equipment shall be so positioned that
    a) it does not impair the functioning or safety of other equipment,
    b) it is readily accessible for installation, replacement, operation, testing,
    inspection, maintenance and repair (see 6.6.1.9 and 6.9.4 for the main
    switch). All parts of the installation shall be accessible without the need to
    enter any adjoining premises (for example, in an apartment building),
    NOTE Common areas (such as passages and entrance halls) are not regarded
    as adjoining areas.
    c) there is easy access to its location,
    d) it is not likely to be physically damaged,
    e) dust or moisture is not likely to accumulate on live or other parts and
    cause flashover, and
    f) where the distribution board is concealed by a cupboard or other
    covering, the notice for live electrical apparatus referred to in annex N
    shall be in a conspicuous place indicating the position of the distribution
    board.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Readily accessible implies to me the it must be accessible without any meaningful physical hinderance. They qualify it in the following sentance by saying it would be unacceptable to have to gain entry into an adjoining premises but the DB being sited in a common area or entrance hall would be acceptable.

    I think the phrases 'readily accessible' and even 'easy access' leave a lot more grey area than one like 'immediately accessible' would. With the following qualification that an adjoining area such as a hallway or common area is acceptable it could be argued that it being accessible in the same premises by use of a single step would be equally or even more accessible than that. I agree with GCE that it doesn't feel right and certainly isn't ideal if the main switch is out of reach for average height people but I don't think the reg 5.3.8 clearly forbids it.

    On the flip side the best argument I can muster against it off-hand would be that if the cupboard is too deep and you need a step then this could be interpreted as only accessible by use of a 'tool', where in this instance you class access equipment as a tool, but again there could be debate on both sides....
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    Thanks for your insight. I plan to use a lower more accessible point for the main switch then.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    We've found a useful way to "measure" the extent of the problem in these situations is to measure the shortest available path between the floor and the main switch, with 2.2 meters as our benchmark (based on 6.6.1.6).
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    most people who have a switch higher than 2.2 m...use a broom or mop readily available So long as it is accessible.

    or

    a simpler solution...mount a wooden step/ box below the DB and measure from the wooden step to the main switch...a lot easier than running trunking/chasing wiring and switch boxes etc.

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    JacksonS (19-Jan-19)

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I vaguely remember there used to be an official 'extension kit' available for some breakers that clipped onto the lever and allowed them to be operated via a rod that hung down....
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  13. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    I vaguely remember there used to be an official 'extension kit' available for some breakers that clipped onto the lever and allowed them to be operated via a rod that hung down....
    Or a string / wire attached to the main circuit breaker.
    On the mines all dbs must be kept locked and this is the acceptable method to trip the power.


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    Email problem markthespark's Avatar
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    In cases like these I've always insisted on fitting an isolator alongside of the cupboard below the dB with it being clearly labeled with the "in case of emergency" warning label. Using the reg that states that a readily accessable disconnecting device be available for db
    s that are out of the height limits of dbs

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    Email problem markthespark's Avatar
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    I have always relocated the dB if the cupboard is too deep or if the dB is located side on in the cupboard which makes the dB impossible to work in. The regs clearly state that all terminals must be readily accessable for maintenance and repairs.

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