Old basements often have "farm bathrooms." These farm bathrooms consist of a toilet and a shower that was once used by farmers who would come in from the barn, wash up, and sit down to eat. When houses were being outfitted for electricity, the early electricians did not know what they were doing. Subsequently, that fuse box next to your old farmer's shower is a bad idea. Here are a couple reasons why you need to move something or remove the copper plumbing from the shower:
Copper Tubes Conduct Electricity
Copper anything, really, conducts electricity. Older homes like yours probably have metal and copper pipes, which is great for carrying water, but not so great when you have an old shower parked near your home's major electrical box. If at any point in time, something were to go haywire with the electrical box, and you were using that shower, the power could arc to the copper pipes and from the copper pipes to the water and then to you. If you survive such a freak accident, it would make for a very embarrassing story indeed.
Avoiding the Shower Is Not a Good Answer Either
Even if you opt not to use this extra shower in your basement, avoiding it is not a good solution either. You still have the problem of copper being too close to a major electrical output. If these copper pipes travel close to the floor, as is often the case when they are connected to a hot water heater, the electricity now has access to the ground. The entirety of your basement floor could become an electrical field, and one step down to the basement floor equals electric shock.
There are a couple of ways you can deal with this problem. One, remove and replace all copper pipes in your basement with PVC. PVC plastic does not conduct electricity so that anything water-related in your basement would be safe. Two, move the fuse box. There is nothing that says that the installation of the box has to be in the location it currently occupies.
Three, build a full bathroom enclosure around the shower if you want to continue using it. This removes the remote possibility of splashing water on the fuse box and short-circuiting it. Fourth and finally, remove the shower. It is not as though you really need a farmer's shower in the basement anymore anyway.
Contact a company like Monumental Supply Company for more information and assistance.