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Toolbox Talk: Extension Cord Safety

By November 27, 2023 January 11th, 2024 No Comments

Extension cords are one of the most extensively used construction electrical products. If they are not used with caution, extension cords can become a fire hazard or pose other risks, which may result in property damage and even loss of life.

Electrical outlets are not always available in the exact location where they are needed. When the need for electricity is temporary, extension cords can be a quick way to supply the necessary power to get a job done.

Extension cords must not be used in place of permanent wiring, and they must be used correctly to maintain safety.

Keeping Cords in Good ConditionConstruction Company, Garco, Washington

  • Check power cords and plugs daily, and discard if worn or damaged
  • Have cords that feel more than comfortably warm checked by an electrician
  • Pull the plug, not the cord: Do not disconnect the power supply by pulling or jerking the cord from the outlet Pulling the cord causes wear and may cause a shock.
  • Never break off the third prong (ground) on a plug.
  • Replace broken three-prong plugs and make sure the third prong is properly grounded.

Power Cord Safety “Do Nots”

  • Do not use or drag power cords near or through heat, water, or oil; this can damage the insulation or cause a shock.
  • Do not affix electric extension cords to ceilings or walls using staples or metal nails, as such sharp objects can damage the safety jacket of the cord.
  • Do not use extension cords as permanent wiring. Use extension cords only to temporarily supply power to an area that does not have a power outlet.
  • Do not bypass the tool’s ON/OFF switch by connecting and disconnecting the power cord.
  • Do not allow vehicles or equipment to pass over unprotected power cords. Cords should be put into electrical conduits or protected by placing them between two pieces of lumber of suitable strength.
  • Do not plug several power cords into one outlet. This can cause overheating, and potentially a fire.
  • Do not plug different extension cords that are not supposed to be plugged together—it can lead to equipment failure, electrocution, or fire. Length determines the ratings of the power cord. Even if two identical power cords are plugged into each other, their current capacity is reduced in half, which may result in a drop in the voltage, overheating, or even a serious fire hazard.

Electrical safety can be simplified by following a few simple rules regarding the use of extension cords. These rules are easy to implement and greatly enhance the safety quotient of job sites.

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