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Section 110.26(A)(2) addresses the width of the working space to provide enough space for a typical person to stand freely in front of the equipment being worked on.The minimum width of the working space is the width of the equipment, but the width cannot be less than 30 inches wide. If the equipment is wider than 30 inches, the width requirement equals the width of the equipment. For example, if the width of the equipment is 42 inches, the width of clear space must also be 42 inches. If the width of the equipment is less than 30 inches, the minimum width of the working space is still 30 inches.
The NEC has no requirement that every piece of equipment have its own dedicated, discrete width in front of it, but simply that there be that much width in front of every piece of equipment. Multiple pieces of equipment might be grouped together to determine width requirements. For example, two panelboards that are each 20 inches wide might be grouped together in a space that is 42 inches wide, with two inches between the panel boards. A clear 42-inch space the full width of both panelboards would be required, and there would still be 30 inches of space for each panelboard.
© Hughes Associates,Inc. 2012