Electric Cord Safety

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

This toolbox talk was created by NIOSH and CPWR and covers electric cord safety. The design allows workers to view a graphic while the facilitator presents the information. After the talk, the sheet can be posted on the jobsite with the graphic side out to reinforce the key points.
2013

CPWR Toolbox Talk logoPower tools are widely used on construction sites. Flexible extension cords are often necessary to provide electricity to the tool. Due to the very reasons they are used, (exposed, flexible, and unsecured) they are more susceptible to damage than fixed wiring.

 

Here is an Example

Bernard was using a coring machine to make holes in a concrete floor. The 120-volt coring machine was supplied with power via two extension cords connected together. One of the extension cords was missing its grounding prong. The cords were plugged into a permanent electrical outlet. Bernard placed the coring machine where he wanted to make the hole. When he turned on the power, Bernard received an electrical shock, and later died from that shock.

  1. How could this incident have been avoided?

Safe Handling and Inspection of Electrical Cords

  • Inspect all extension cords daily for damage and missing grounding prongs.
  • Protect extension cords from damage.
  • Never use a metal outlet box as an extension cord.
  • Never use Romex or non-metallic cable as extension cords.
  • Avoid using staples and nails to hold extension cords in place.
  • Use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) to protect against any electrical fault.

What Are We Going to Do Today?

What will we do here at the worksite today to prevent injuries from extension cords?

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OSHA REGULATION: 1926.404-405

Graphic of a worker inspecting an electrical cord.

  • Inspect all extension cords daily for damage and missing grounding prongs.
  • Protect extension cords from damage.
  • Use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)to protect against any electrical fault.