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Toolbox Talk - Extension Cords

Toolbox Talk - Extension Cords
Disclaimer: This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. However, it is to be used for reference purposes only and is not intended to cover all aspects of the topic presented.


Electrocution continues to rank as the fourth highest cause of death in the construction industry. One person is electrocuted in the home every 36 hours. One person is electrocuted in the workplace every 24 hours.

Selecting the right extension cord for the job can eliminate many hazards to start with. All cords should be UL listed, properly grounded, and meet other applicable electrical code specifications. The thickness of the cord should be same as, or greater than, the cord of the tool being powered.

Extension cords are items that get considerable usage. Before use, inspect the cord for damage, such as nicks, cuts, or abrasions in the outer insulation. Look for loose or missing plug blades, and indications of overheating or burning, especially on the plug. Make sure the plug is securely attached to cable. The plug should be molded to the cord or have a clamping mechanism that fits snugly around the cord without pinching.

Electrical tape is not approved for repairing an extension cord. Damaged equipment should be tagged “DO NOT USE” and removed from the jobsite. Remember, repairs to extension cords are to be performed by a licensed electrician.

When you use an extension cord, try to keep it out of aisles and other places where pedestrians or other workers might trip over it. Avoid placing it in high traffic areas where it could be damaged by aerial lifts, forklifts, or other mobile equipment.

Extension cords are intended to supply temporary power and should be unplugged when not in use.

The only electrical device designed to protect YOU is a

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).

Ground prongs, fuses, and breakers are for fire safety – not protection of human life. Always plug a GFCI into the outlet first before connecting your extension cord.

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Posted on Saturday, September 01, 2012 (Archive on Monday, October 06, 2014)
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