Misusing electrical equipment can be harmful

Oct 8, 2020
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Written by Washington Retail
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We like how electricity enhances our lives, but do not often give it the respect it deserves. 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.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers the following tips about common types of equipment misuse:

  • Do not fabricate extension cords with Romex (household) 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.
  • Do not misuse multi-receptacle boxes designed to be mounted by fitting them with a power cord and placing them on the floor.
  • 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 following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Limit the use of extension cords where possible.

SAFEME has an Electrical Safety lesson that would be a great refresher course. You also can read more here and here.

You can find some short electrical safety videos on RS SafetyTV for use in your safety meetings.

WR employs Rick Means as Director of Safety & Education who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, x118 or rmeans@waretailservices.com