Cords, Wires and Tripping Hazards

Tangle of electrical wires

Hopefully, your work space or area does not have any wiring messes as bad as the one above. Cords, cables and wires can be serious tripping hazards and since wires carry electricity, they pose a shock and fire hazard, too.

Extension cords - they are common but must be used with care and ideally should not be used in place of permanent wiring. Please evaluate any extension cords used in your work area. Eliminate them if possible and if not make sure they do not create a tripping hazard, are in good condition and the right size for the appliances that are plugged into them. Ideally, extension cords should be viewed as very temporary and never used where there is heavy foot or other traffic.

Surge Protectors - How do they Work?
A surge protector works by clamping or short circuiting excess voltage and converting the excess voltage energy into heat. This clamping action prevents higher than normal voltage from flowing through the electronic devices plugged into the surge protector, voltages that might otherwise damage the equipment. Because the clamping action produces heat, it is important not to cover surge protectors or place them near flammable materials. Because they have cords, is it also important not to create any tripping hazards when using them.

General Safety Recommendations:

  • Route the cords and cables in your work area so that they are not a tripping hazard to you or anyone else BUT, never do this by hiding them under rugs or other similar floor coverings.
  • Check all power cords periodically and replace any frayed or damaged cords.
  • Make sure wires and cords are not being crushed, stretched or kinked because all these problems can create shock and fire hazards.
  • If you are using any extension cords make sure they are heavy enough to handle the load of the appliances they are feeding. Only three wire grounded heavy duty cords should be used in the workplace. Avoid the two wire "zip" type extension cord.
  • Make sure surge protectors are not covered or near flammables.