OSHA issues warning on using defective circuit breakers

August 31, 2011

Washington – OSHA on Aug. 31 issued a hazard alert warning employers to stop using certain incorrectly built circuit breakers.

The alert concerns Eaton/Cutler-Hammer molded-case circuit breakers with model numbers E²K and E²KM. OSHA said the third-party builder may have altered the circuit breakers by using incorrect parts that could cause a malfunction. According to OSHA, the rebuilt circuit breakers have incorrect voltage ratings on the covers and, because the covers do not meet the manufacturer’s specifications, they may lack proper safety features to prevent electrical shock, burns and fires.

Employers using the defective breakers should notify OSHA and have a qualified person shut off power and remove the breaker from service. Defective breakers should be replaced with one certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.

OSHA’s alert follows a similar notice (.pdf file) from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.