Q: Is it required to keep electrical panels locked even if they are behind doors that are restricted by card-access readers? Does it depend on which AHJ is inspecting it?
A: According to NFPA 99-2012, section 22.214.171.124.1.3 (A), circuit breaker panels to Category 1 and Category 2 rooms must be secured against unauthorized access. If you can justify that only authorized individuals with approved badge readers can access the panels, then you should not have to lock the individual panels.
This is one good reason to conduct the NFPA 99 Risk Assessment to determine what your Category ratings are for your electrical equipment and where they are located.
All AHJs should enforce this the same way… but anything can happen.
Brad Keyes, CHSP, is the owner of KEYES Life Safety Compliance, and his expertise is in the management of the Life Safety Program, including the Environment of Care and Emergency Management programs.
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