Extension cords are a great way to provide power to hard-to-reach outlets. While they are easy to use, extension cords remain one of the most abused accessories in an office setting. Wrong application and storage often pose a safety hazard for the users.

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You may need to take proactive measures to prevent tripping hazards and electrical fires while keeping the extension cords working in perfect condition. Here are seven ways to extend the life of your extension cords: 

Store the Cords Properly When Not in Use 

Extension cords strewn across the floors are a recipe for disaster. Tripping over the cables can forcefully yank the plug from the sockets, damaging the cords. You can improve workplace safety and protect your extension cords by adequately storing the cables after use. 

Take time to learn a proper way to wrap the extension cord to avoid frays. Most people often use the around-the elbow technique. While it’s effective, you can end up tangling your cable. The over-under technique is the best method to wrap your extension cord as it follows the natural curve of the cable. 

Cord reels are an excellent alternative to store away your extension cords neatly. You can also use hooks and racks to keep your cables free of any tangles. When taking the cord out of the socket, remember to pull the plug and not the cable. 

Do not Overload 

Extension cords come in different gauges, which determine the maximum voltage the cable can support. Never use a cable with a lower watt rating than the appliance you are plugging into. Exceeding the maximum capacity can result in overheating, which may damage your cords.

An overloaded extension cord also increases the risk of a fire hazard. Cheaper cables often have lower ratings than suggested and are more prone to electrical damage. A quality extension cord with switch and grounding can provide better control over the current flow. 

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Use an Extension Cord of Appropriate Length 

Pick the right cord length for your application. You shouldn’t plug different extension cords in together as it can result in equipment failure, electrical fires, or electrocution. 

This safety measure also applies to identical extension cables. Plugging together two equal cords halves the current capacity, resulting in a voltage drop. Find an appropriately sized cord with a length that meets your requirements.

Mind Your Working Environment 

Your workplace environment may affect the type of cords that you buy and the maintenance procedures to follow. Keep your extension cords away from heat sources. Cables often release heat as electricity runs through the wires. Exposure to a heat source may result in overheating, increasing the risk of an electrical fire. 

Additionally, you should keep away your extension cables from heavy objects. The weight of the office appliances can damage the cords by crushing the insulation or breaking the wires. You can use raceways or tubings to protect your wiring. 

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Avoid Using Cords in High Foot Traffic Areas 

Slips, trips, and falls cause more than 20% of workplace injuries recorded. Extension cables running across the high foot traffic areas are a common culprit for such accidents. Avoid laying your cords in places that people pass through. 

You will not only prevent workplace accidents but also protect your wires from fraying or bending. You can use cable supports such as clips and ties to keep the cord out of the way when necessary. 

Moreover, you should avoid running your cables under your rug or carpets. Covering is an excellent way to hide an extension cord from plain sight. Unfortunately, you end up preventing the wires from releasing the extra heat generated.

Keep the Extension Cords from Sharp Edges or Objects 

Sharp edges such as door and window frames can damage your electrical cord. The cable running from one room into the next may get caught between the window or door edges, cutting through the insulation. 

When running through a sharp edge, you can protect your cord by placing a protective covering such as a plastic tube. 

Additionally, power tools such as saws and drills on your workstation can cut through the wires. You need to keep the outer covering intact as it is your first line of defense. Keep your cords away from objects that may cause damage. 

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Make Use of Cord Organizers 

Tangled cords may suffer damage through the kinks and bends that break the wires. You can use cord organization systems to provide protection and direction to the extension cables running through the office. 

There are numerous wire management tools that you can use, such as: 

  • Cable clips and strips
  • Wireways
  • Cable nail-ins
  • Adhesive-mount cable wraps, among others


Consider investing in office furniture or workbenches with cord routing channels. The hidden cord organizers can hide your extension cable while preventing it from knotting. 

Conclusion

Taking care of your extension cords will not only increase their lifespan but also save your company hundreds of dollars in maintenance costs. Use these seven tips to create a safer working environment for you and your colleagues. 

Author:

Derek Edison