Electrical shocks are a preventable safety injury, but are very prevalent. In fact, 1,000 people a year die from electrical shock. At a job site in the early summer of 2012, a worker was electrocuted while testing a fire water pump. The worker made the mistake of connecting two Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) together, essentially rendering them useless. The worker, while standing in a puddle from the water pump test, unplugged the extension cord and an electrical current shocked the worker. This is an example of how a simple mistake, can cause a grave injury.
Next time you are working with an extension cord, think about the following tips. Being cognizant of extension cord hazards will keep you and your co-workers safe.
- Inspect extension cords before use to ensure there is no exposed wiring or other damage
- Never use a defective extension cord
- Use three-wire extension cords with a working ground conductor
- Use safety hazard tested cords with a UL or FM label
- Make sure you are using cords rated for hard or extra-hard usage
- If the extension cord gets hot, remove equipment immediately
- Use a GFCI when using extension cords outside (remember from the story above, don't plug two GFCIs together)
- Never file or cut the plug blades so they will fit into a plug socket
- Do not run extension cords through walls, ceilings, or floors
- Do not attach extension cords with a nail or staple
- REMEMBER, extension cords are designed for temporary use
For a safe working environment, always choose the correct extension cord and use it with care.