Electrical hazards are an area of major safety concern in construction and account for a large number of injuries and fatalities. Even workers that aren't electricians are going to be using electricity every day to do their job, and something as seemingly harmless as an extension cord has it's own hazards. Extension cords can be found on any construction site and reminding crews about safe use of extension cords is as important as safety training on electrical tool use.
In addition, office buildings, warehouses, and manufacturing plants are corporate and industrial environments where electrical equipment and outlets will definitely be found and can pose unique hazards to employees who work there.
No one should take electricity for granted. No matter how small the task, how temporary the project or how trained the staff, everyone should be using safe work practices, especially when using electrical tools and equipment.
Extension cords should be selected carefully and be approved by a laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL). The extension cord below shows the (UL) stamp clearly.
During the weekly safety meeting or morning safety huddle on electrical safety, the following tips on safe use of extension cords should be discussed:
- Always inspect your electrical tools and extension cords before use.
- Don't use an extension cord that is wet and never plug an extension cord into an electrical device with wet hands.
- Never unplug an extension cord by pulling on the cord; pull on the plug only.
- Never use extension cords that have broken or missing ground pins - those are there for your safety!
- Use only properly rated extension cords for a construction site and UL (or similarly) approved extension cords for use in all work environments.
- Never run cords through windows or doors where they could be pinched or damaged.
- Ensure extension cords are kept out of walkways to avoid potential trip and fall hazards.
- Remove frayed, damaged, or severely kinked extension cords from use immediately.
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