480 Volt Electric Panel Clearance Requirements


The National Electrical Code (NEC) published the recognized regulations on clearance requirements for 480-volt electrical panels. These requirements are necessary to keep maintenance personnel safe while working on high-voltage panels. The clearance requirements also meet all government safety standards such as those set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Overhead Clearance

  • Electrical wires running to the 480-volt electrical panel must be a minimum of 12 feet above the ground if the panel is located outside. This 12-foot minimum requirement is also required over pavement and a minimum of 22 feet is required over roads.

Front Clearance

  • The NEC requires that there be a minimum of three feet of clearance in front of a 480-volt electrical panel. This clearance is measured for the live electrical parts or front of the electrical panel. This clearance is different if the 480-volt electrical panel faces a wall where other electrical panels are located. A minimum of 30 inches of width is also required in front of the electrical panel.

Front Clearance When Facing Other Electrical Panels

  • The NEC front clearance requirement is different when the 480-volt electrical panel faces another electrical panel or grounded wall. A minimum of 3 feet of clearance in front of the electrical panel is required in this instance. The higher the voltage, the greater the distance from panel to panel.


  • A minimum of 6 feet of headroom is required when working on a 480-volt electrical panel. This 6-foot clearance is measured from the floor or work platform to any obstruction located overhead. This requirement prevents workers from touching any object that can ground the worker producing a shock or burn.

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