Jobsite Safety – Extension Cords and Cord Safety
When working on any jobsite, there are obvious risks we undertake. Saws are screaming, Jackhammers are pounding, generators are roaring, anything could happen! One of the most dangerous things on the jobsite is present in all of these examples; electricity. As it stands, the majority of our jobsites are corded, leading to possible injuries and fatalities through tripping, electrocution and more.
Last year alone about 5,000 people were hospitalized for injuries DIRECTLY related to extension cords. Electricity has vastly improved the speed and efficiency at which we work. We can complete jobs now in just weeks that would take months, even a year or more before electricity became a standard. With this incredible increase in efficiency comes a drawback, however. Safety is at an all time premium on jobsites and is something that can be a major point of contention between workers, supervisors, and inspectors.
Common Extension Cord Problems
If we were to ask everyone reading this blog to leave just one sentence listing a safety concern they’ve seen involving extension cords we might have to start a new site. It’s no secret that sometimes safety is put on the backburner for convenience and ease of work. We can’t stress enough, NOT TO DO THIS. The convenience afforded to you when working in an unsafe work environment (especially when there is electricity involved) is never worth the risk. OSHA gives the following guidelines on working with extension cords:
- All extension cords used on any project will be three-pronged.
- All extension cords will be in good working order.
- Each extension cord ground will be tested for continuity on at least a quarterly basis and marked to indicate when the inspection occurred.
- Each extension cord will be visually inspected before each use.
- If any extension cord is found in disrepair or fails the continuity test, it will be tagged and taken out of service and retested before it goes back into service.
- Any extension cord that does not have the grounding pin will be taken out of service and not used.
- Extension cords will not be used in place of fixed wiring.
- Extension cords will not be run through holes in walls, ceilings or floors.
- Extension cords will not be attached to the surface of any building.
- Extension cords will carry hard or extra-hard NEC designations, such as: S, ST, SO, STO, SJ, SJO, SJT, SJTO.
- No extension cord will be of the “flat wire” type. Every extension cord will have each wire insulated and further protected by an outside cover.
Top Problems Seen on Jobsite
1) Liquids Near Electricity
This is one of those problems a lot of people don’t think about when it’s happening. You show up to the jobsite, put your coffee down, and get to work. No harm no foul, right? If your drink is in a container with an unsecured lid, or you’re using a tool which could damage the container and cause spillage, then you might not be right. Having any liquid near your work area is a hazard. Extension cords are no exception to this. Any fault in the cable can cause injury.
2) Using Extension Cords in Place of Fixed Wiring
Running an extension cord in place of fixed wiring is dangerous. These cords aren’t meant to support long-term use in this way. To avoid using your extension cord in place of fixed wiring, make sure it avoids the following:
- Running through holes in walls, ceilings, or floors.
- Being used in one application for 90+ days
- Being attached to the surface of any building
3) Unsafe Locations
Running wires across the middle of your working area might be the most convenient, but rarely is it ever the safest. When choosing your cable, make sure that you have enough to run it to your tools while following a path along the outside of your working area. Use cable runners to consolidate multiple cables to the same area, and try to avoid crossing cables as much as possible.
The Best Safety Solution – The Cordless Jobsite
The easiest way to avoid worrying about cord safety on the jobsite is to get rid of them all together! Luckily for you, DeWalt has a brand new line that will guarantee you no more cord safety hazards, because it’s entirely cordless! The DeWalt FLEXVOLT line is a fully functioning jobsite running between 60V and 120V of power, using only 60V batteries. The best part about this is that DeWalt has made this system to work with ALL existing cordless DeWalt tools! Your 20v MAX tools are all compatible under this new system, and the new tools are better versions of the great tools you already love! Currently, the FLEXVOLT line includes:
- 120V Miter Saw
- 60V Table Saw
- 60V Grinder
- 60V Reciprocation Saw
- 60V Stud and Joist Drill
- 60V Circular Saw
There are more products to be announced, so stay tuned and be the first to know here on the Koopman Blog!
Eliminate the hassle of having to run cable and the many safety concerns that extension cords can bring when you upgrade to the cordless jobsite with Koopman Lumber and DeWalt.
Cut the cord with us here at Koopman Lumber! Remember these easy safety tips when using extension cords and make sure you come to us when ordering your FLEXVOLT tools. We’ll have them first and at the best price, so get a hold of us today! They’re sure to go fast!