Proper use of electrical equipment

January 1, 2011

Improperly using electrical equipment can create very serious hazards for workers. Special safety features built into equipment often are rendered ineffective when equipment is manipulated or misused. This can harm workers and damage the equipment.
OSHA offers the following tips about common types of equipment misuse:

  • Do not misuse multireceptacle boxes designed to be mounted by fitting them with a power cord and placing them on the floor. 
  • Do not fabricate extension cords with Romex wire. 
  • Replace all cords or tools with worn insulation or exposed wires. 
  • Never modify cords or tools by removing ground prongs, face plates or insulation. 
  • Ensure equipment labeled for dry, indoor use is never used outside or in damp conditions. 
  • Do not attach an ungrounded, two-prong adaptor plug to three-prong cords and tools.
  • Refrain from using circuit breakers or fuses with the wrong rating for over-current protection (i.e., using a 30-amp breaker with a 15- or 20-amp receptacle). Protection will be lost because it will not trip when the system’s load has been exceeded. 
  • To ensure worker safety, only use equipment that is approved to meet all OSHA standards, and use it in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.