Weekly Safety Topic – Extension Cord Safety

Extension cords are designed to be convenient, not hazardous. Unfortunately, far too often, people use them in a way they are not designed for and create a hazard where one shouldn’t exist. Let’s go over some of the ways these safety hazards are formed.

Extension cords are often placed in areas where people aren’t used, frequently creating a tripping hazard. This type of hazard is one of the more common ones; so, when you use an extension cord, keep it out of aisles and other places where people may trip. When someone trips over a cord, there is not only a chance of injury but the plug may be jerked to the extent that it’s damaged, moving it from a tripping hazard to an electrical hazard.

Extension cords are items that get considerable usage. Appropriate cords should be used with portable electric tools. Selecting the right extension cord for the job can eliminate many hazards. All cords must be UL listed, properly grounded, and meet other applicable electrical code specifications. Equipment should be properly grounded if you’re using portable electrical equipment.

If moisture, heat, or chemicals are present, be sure your cord is the proper type to resist the conditions. Always remember that it can be fatal if you connect with a live wire carrying as little as 110 volts. Wet or sweaty hands may make it dangerous to make a connection, especially if you are in contact with another wet surface or something else that is a good conductor of electricity.

Always remember to inspect your cord and the cords on your power tools before you use them, especially if you left the cord rolled out. Remove damaged cords and electrical tools from service if damaged, and tag them out of service. Electrocutions are the second leading cause of death on construction sites. Don’t be the next statist!

Electricity is a silent killer. Respect it or face the consequences.