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Extension cord safety

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If extension cords are used at your workplace or jobsite, workers should be aware of a number of safety “do’s” and “don’ts” before plugging in a cord, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation.

First, workers need to know that extension cords are for temporary use only, TDI/DWC states. Other “do’s”:

  • Check cords for damage before use.
  • Ensure cords have the mark of an independent testing laboratory, such as UL.
  • Make sure the cord is completely plugged into an outlet.
  • Unplug extension cords when not in use, and store the cords indoors.
  • Keep cords away from water. Ground fault circuit interrupter protection should be used when extension cords are in wet or damp environments.

Here are some actions to avoid when using extension cords:

  • Don’t use a cord outdoors that is marked for indoor use.
  • Don’t plug one cord into another.
  • Don’t run extension cords through walls or holes in the ceiling, and don’t run them across floors or doorways.
  • Don’t force a plug into an outlet.
  • Don’t overheat an extension cord.
  • Don’t cover a cord with a rug or carpet.
  • Don’t drive over an extension cord.

For more information on extension cord use, visit

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