Routine Electrical Plug and Extension Cord Use May Result in Hazards
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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

Date: 

Topics:  Electrical, Occupational Safety and Health

Extension cords can be very helpful in delivering power right where we need it. However, regardless of the gauge or rating of the cord, an extension cord is a temporary solution, and is not meant to be used as a long-term extension of your electrical system. With continuous use over time, an extension cord can rapidly deteriorate, creating a potentially dangerous electric shock or fire hazard. Using extension cords properly is critical to your safety. And even though the routine and frequent task of plugging/unplugging power cords is generally considered a "low risk" activity, it is important to remember that the low risk activities still have the potential for unintended contact and possible injury. Be mindful of the cord prongs and aware of where your hand is positioned when plugging/unplugging cords. Examples of recent events at DOE facilities and tips for staying safe from electric shock and electrical fires are included in this article.

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