Electrical Safety

Q&A: Extension Cord Safety

Recently, we received the following question from a subscriber regarding extension cord safety: OSHA recently sent out a Letter of Interpretation explaining their views for extension cords on the manufacturer’s label stating “Do not plug one extension cord into another extension cord during use.” Does “during use” mean while the extension cord is energized? Or can you simply unplug an extension cord from a power source, plug in another extension cord, then plug back into the power source?

This was our answer: In OSHA’s Letter of Interpretation to which you refer, OSHA clarifies that extension cords must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s labeling instructions and for their intended application. If the warning tab or label states “Do not plug one extension cord into another” and an employer disregards this warning, it would be a violation of 29 CFR 1926.403(b)(2).