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Q&A: Power Strips for Office Electronics

Recently, a subscriber asked the following question:

According to OSHA, are we allowed to use power strips to permanently power electronics like office computers?

power strip

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This was our answer:

OSHA’s electrical safety rule at 29 CFR 1910.303(b)(2) allows the use of power strips as long as they are installed and used in accordance with instructions from the manufacturer and included in the listing or labeling on the device from a certified source such as UL (Underwriters Laboratory). The power strips “shall have an ampere rating not less than the load to be served,” so the equipment plugged in to it must not collectively exceed the amperage of the strip. They must be directly connected to a permanently installed branch-circuit receptacle outlet only, not to an extension cord or another power strip.

OSHA does not say whether power strips can or cannot be used permanently, just that they must be used in accordance with instructions from a manufacturer or certified source like UL.

See the OSHA letter of interpretation about power strips at https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24631.

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