Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Feb 01 2017

WW: Breaker

I found this photo on the Facebook page of Brendan Daley of Pasek Corp (who is not responsible for this “fix”).

What does this method accomplish?  Based on a couple of comments it doesn’t seem to prevent the breaker from tripping, as I originally thought.  Educate me.


13 Responses to “WW: Breaker”

  1. Cda says:

    Circuit breaker locks are now required sometimes.

    It should still trip

  2. John Payson says:

    I’m not sure what exact problem you’re complaining about. Circuit breakers of the pictured style are constructed so that the lever only resets the over-current trip mechanism when it is pushed to the “OFF” position. Pushing the lever to the “on” position will disconnect the lever from the over-current trip mechanism before it allows current to flow. Unless a circuit breaker is severely defective, jamming its operating lever will have no effect upon its ability to disconnect a circuit in response to an overload.

    • Lori says:

      I’m not complaining. 🙂 It looked like something designed to keep the breaker from tripping. I’ve never seen it before.

      – Lori

  3. J.J. says:

    It looks like it is there to prevent the circuit breaker from being turned off, there are many commercially available products to ensure the breaker is maintained in the on or off position. “Breaker lockouts” are usually designed with the capability of adding a padlock and an information tag.

  4. Anthony Wan says:

    I’ve only seen a lock on the whole breaker box door, never on the circuit breaker. It is designed to trip when the wiring is shorting out or too much current to prevent fires. Lockout tags are used to keep a circuit from being turned back on and the tags are usually a smaller gauge wire or plastic that can be removed with tools. If an electrician did that, they should quit their job.

  5. Cda says:


    So someone will not come along and shut off power inadvertently to someone’s computer, security system, alarm, coffee pot, etc.

  6. Daniel Ferry, AHC says:

    This is simply the same thing that a piece of tape will do over a breaker.
    Most warehouse lights do not have individual switches, so you simply go over to the breaker box and flip the breakers to turn off the lights when leaving.
    However, some of the breakers, you do not want the employees to turn off, say if they are powering the office area. So tape will be put on top of the breaker with writing on it saying “DO NOT TURN OFF”.
    My guess is that the tape kept falling off, so they wired it up.
    Often the simple answer is the correct one!!!

  7. MartinB (aka lauxmyth) says:

    I am more concerned about the length of the screws used. Depending on the brand and age of breaker, the live bus may be below and tapping in screws may be a BAD idea.

  8. Max says:

    It’s definitely fishy, especially when the type of product Cda linked to is so inexpensive.

    We often see lockouts required on FA and other life safety system circuit breakers, though I agree that this particular instance is probably one of those cases where breakers are used as light switches and some-one got tired of their computer being rebooted every night. Unless it was a misguided attempt at trying to keep the breaker from tripping in which case that employee may need a reality check.

  9. Kent Usher says:

    …but is the wire gauge correct? 🙂

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