Commercial electrical inspections are designed to confirm adherence to local code and ensure building electrical safety. Incorrectly installed electrical wiring can result in thousands of dollars in damage from fires and pose a life-threatening danger to workers and employees. Following are some kinds of commercial building violations that may be spotted during an inspection initiated by a local municipality or Occupational Safety and Health Administration agents.
Equipment Fit for Commercial Purposes
Not all electric-powered products are designed for commercial use. In a commercial setting, electric-powered appliances must run for longer, uninterrupted periods of time. Consumer-oriented products are typically not meant to run unattended for a great length of time, so they are not grounded. Using ungrounded consumer-grade products in a commercial building is a serious safety hazard with the potential to cause an electrical fire.
Whenever live wires are exposed, the risk of shock increases. All circuit breakers, panels and wiring must be completely guarded to minimize shock risk. All electrical parts are required to be fully covered by insulation or deactivated and grounded to protect workers who may make contact.
In 2012, electrical malfunctions caused over $314 million in fire damage nationwide, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. An ungrounded electrical system raises the risk of fire because excess electrical current is not returned to the ground. Instead, it continues cycling through the wires, generating heat which then could create a spark, setting off an inferno. It also raises the risk of electrical shock to those who plug in or attempt to touch or use an appliance connected to an ungrounded wire.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
Portable electrical devices are used in many commercial settings. Using an extension cord raises the risk of electrical shock, especially if the area is exposed to the elements. Every power outlet should be equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). This device tracks the outgoing and returning electrical current. As soon as an interruption in the current returning to the outlet occurs, as in the case of electrocution, the breaker trips, shutting off the power supply. In addition to use with outlets powering extension cords, outlets near water supply outlets should be outfitted with GFCI devices.
Professional Commercial Electrical Assistance
To ensure your commercial building meets all requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor and local building code, enlist the help of a professional commercial electrician. When a mock inspection is performed, potential violations can be highlighted and repaired swiftly.
For the sake of the safety of all people in the building and to address compliance with local and federal regulations, call Stanger Electric for more information on meeting the standards of commercial electrical inspections.