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January 10, 2022
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Extension Cord Safety

Extension cords are commonly used both at home and in the workplace. They are only meant for temporary use. Improper use of extension cords can result in fires and electrical shock. To prevent these incidents, implement these safe practices:

  • Inspect each extension cord prior to use. Do not use extension cords that are damaged or defective.
  • Use extension cords that are Underwriter Laboratories (UL) approved.
  • Fully insert the extension cord plug into the outlet.
  • When removing an extension cord from an outlet, pull the plug, not the cord.
  • Make sure the extension cord has a ground prong. This creates an emergency path for electricity to travel if a short circuit or fault occurs within the device.
  • Keep extension cords away from water.
  • Use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection in wet or damp environments. A GFCI is a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground-fault within as little as 1/40 of a second. It works by comparing the amount of current going to and returning from equipment.
  • Unplug cords when not in use.
  • Use cord protectors in high-traffic areas such as walking surfaces and aisles.
  • Do not run extension cords through doorways, ceilings, aisles, or floors.
  • Do not cover an extension cord with anything other than a cord protector.
  • Do not allow vehicles to drive over extension cords.
  • Do not overload extension cords.


Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Port Clinton, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;


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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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