Tips for the safe use of electrical extension leads
Top 15 Tips for the safe use of electrical extension leads
When we are PAT testing in offices, building sites and pretty much every business we see a lot of instances where socket extension leads are used incorrectly. Here we have put together a list of 15 top tips for the safe use of the extension lead.
Electrical extension leads are often used incorrectly, just because it has 4 sockets doesn’t mean they all need using at the same time.
The one we see most often is daisy chasing; we spend a lot of time educating our clients in why this shouldn’t be done. Daisy chaining increases the risks of overloading sockets which can be a very risky thing to do.
Here are our top 15 TOP Tips for the safe use of electrical extension leads
Do not overload extension leads by plugging in too many appliances, e.g. even though there are 4 sockets it doesn’t mean you can use all 4.
Don’t run extension leads through water or snow on the ground.
Do not use an extension lead instead of permanent wiring.
Do not run extension leads through walls, doorways, ceilings or floors.
Don’t cover the lead – if it is covered, heat cannot escape, which may result in it overheating and catching fire.
It’s best not to use an extension cord for more than one appliance.
If you’re using a lot of extension cords; maybe you don’t have enough sockets; consider getting some new sockets installed
Multiple extensions must be plugged directly into mounted sockets rather than being ‘daisy’ chained together.
Make sure the extension lead is rated for the products to be plugged in
Make sure the extension lead is suitable for use, for example, only use a proper outdoor use lead, outdoors
The appliance or tool that you are using the extension with will have a wattage rating on it – Match this up with your extension; do not use a cord that has a lower rating.
If the cord or plug feels excessively hot stop using it
If the cord or plug is damaged in any way, stop using it – Touching even a single exposed strand of wire can give you an electric shock or burn.
Never use two-pin plugs in 3-hole sockets.
Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit.
Richard Ayre is an experienced PAT testing engineer with many years experience and the Managing Director of DRA PAT Testing Limited based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Richard is also the Operations Director for the UK's Portable Appliance Testing Trade Association.