Section: Safety and Security
Policy Number: 7-13
Policy Name: Extension Cords
Date: April 15, 1975
Revisions: November 1, 1988; June 27, 1996

  1. PURPOSE

    To establish a uniform policy regarding the use of extension cords.

  2. POLICY

    All extension cord use shall comply with NFPA 70 (National Electric Code).

    1. Extension cords shall not be used as a substitute for the fixed wiring of a facility, laboratory or shop.

    2. Extension cords shall not be used for permanent or semi-permanent installations, ie, must be less than 30 days. Exception: Extension cords designed for use with portable equipment.

    3. Extension cords shall be listed by the Underwriters' Laboratory (U.L.) and bear the U.L. label.

    4. Extension cords shall be a minimum of 16 gauge copper wire and rated for not less than 13 amperes, shall be of the grounding type (three wire) and shall not be used in excess of their rated capacity.

    5. Extension cords shall be used only in continuous lengths without splice or tap. Terminals and insulation shall be free of defects such as cracked, split or nicked insulation; exposed wires; knots; burn marks; loose connectors; or other damage that may present a fire or electrocution hazard. Destroy any extension cords showing defects.

    6. Extension cords shall not be connected in series.

    7. Extension cords shall not be used in bathrooms. Extension cords used in wet or damp areas shall be connected to a ground fault interrupter device or GFCI circuit only.

    8. For three wire extension cords, the ground prong shall not be removed. Departments shall request the installation of three prong type wall outlets where not provided.

    9. Proper polarization shall be maintained at all times.

    10. For extension cords equipped with single plug-in capability, a multiple plug adapter may be utilized provided the adapter is U.L. listed and rated for not less than 125 volts/15 amperes. Multiple plug adapters are not otherwise permitted in conjunction with an extension cord.

    11. Extension cords shall not be covered by carpeting, clothing, furniture, or other objects that could prevent adequate air circulation and cooling of the cord.

    12. Extension cords shall not be tacked, stapled or otherwise affixed in semi-permanent or permanent manner. Major appliances such as refrigerators, television sets, or other devices drawing currents for starting motors shall not be connected to an extension cord.

    13. Multi-plug devices may be used for: computer equipment, televisions, stereos, radios and similar devices. They may not be used with refrigerators, microwaves, coffee pots, hot plates toaster ovens and similar devices. Multi-plug devices must be Underwriters Laboratory approved or approved by a similar nationally recognized testing laboratory and they must contain an integral circuit breaker.

For more information regarding this policy, contact either the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at extension 8475 or the Supervisor of Electrical Services at extension 2621.

Submitted by: Department of Environmental Health and Safety