We use extension cords all the time at home and at work. They are extremely useful and are helpful in solving a lot of problems, but they also pose the threat of a fire hazard or shock hazard if you do not use them correctly. They can also become a problem if they have worn out over time. Extension cord safety is not something a lot of people think about, but its importance cannot be understated. If you are working with an improperly working extension cord, you could start a fire in the workplace, or worse, you could electrocute and kill yourself. Luckily, there are measures you can take to prevent against instances such as these and we are here today to walk you through these measures.
The first thing you’ll want to understand is that there are different types of extension cords. If you are operating on a small appliance or two, you will want to use a two-wire extension cord. Two-wire extension cords can only be used for one or two appliances, no more! If you’re working with power tools or outdoor appliances, you will want to use a three-wire cord. The third wire on a three-wire extension cord should ALWAYS be plugged into a grounded electrical outlet. This is the ground wire and is designed to be a ground cord. These should be used with power tools unless the power tool happens to be double insulated.
When in the workplace, you will probably be required to use specific extension cords that are approved by the National Electric Code for hard or extra hard usage. These cords are usually marked with the letters “WA” or the word “Outdoor” on the jacket of the cord. Make sure you are using the correct extension cord! If you don’t, you are asking for an accident to happen.
Along with choosing the correct cord, you will also have to regularly inspect and maintain the cords you are using. These inspections should look for wear and tear, deterioration, and any type of damage. You will also want to make it a habit to remove the extension cord from its outlet, do NOT pull the extension cord by the actual cord when removing it from the outlet. Extension cords should also be kept from running underneath any furniture or rugs and should never be strung through doorways, walkways, windows, or along walls, ceilings, or floors. If you identify any type of damage on the cord, you will need to dispose of it and replace it immediately.
Never, ever use an extension cord as a substitute for permanent wiring. This includes securing the cord to a building or structure. The staples at your hardware store should not be used for extension cords even though they may be advertised for that purpose. Whenever you are using a cord, you want to use ONE cord. Do NOT plug two cords together to make a single long cord. If you are having a problem reaching the area in which you will be working, get a longer extension cord for the job. If you connect two extension cords together, you will reduce the operating voltage and efficiency of the tools and appliances you will be using and you could even cause motor damage.
Extension cords, like a lot of other tools in the workplace, are often taken for granted and people do not fully comprehend the problems they could cause if they use them incorrectly. Make sure you are regularly checking and inspecting your extension cords and practice good housekeeping to ensure good extension cord safety. The difference between good extension cord practices and bad extension cord practices is bigger than you think.
07 Feb 2014
It’s that time of the year that everyone dreads because of the cold weather, snow, and ice. Some people don’t realize that it not only can affect their lifestyles but it can also affect your cars. During these long dreadful months it is difficult for us to function the way they would in the spring but what you don’t realize is that it will also take a toll on your cars. It is almost likely that the winter weather will bring dreadfully low temperatures, several days of snow, and icy road hazards. For these situations it is very important to follow these cold weather tips when it comes to winterizing your cars. If there are some of these that you have not done yet, don’t worry because it is never too late to accomplish them during the winter months.
Cold Weather Tips
Your car is your form of transportation that gets you to and from work, events, and other daily activities that come up. You rely on your car for just about everything you have to do. This should make your car a huge priority to get winterized and prepared for anything that Mother Nature might throw your way.
Everyone’s expectations for their vehicles grow tremendously throughout the winter because as the temperatures drop it seems like the more they expect from their cars. There are many elements that will go against you and your car during the winter.
To protect against these elements you will want to have a good idea of what to do when it comes to winterizing your car. Take action and follow these cold weather tips for winterizing your car.
Heating and air conditioning. Your car’s HVAC system needs to be in working order for you to even think about driving your car during the winter. This will not only take a toll on your car but could also be a potential health risk for you.
Check your antifreeze levels. Your car’s antifreeze levels are very important. It not only helps keeping your car from overheating in the summer months, but most importantly antifreeze keeps your car from freezing during the winter months. Antifreeze is there to protect your car all year-round and it is very important to maintain three-fourths to a full tank of antifreeze.
Change your oil consistently. Regular oil changes in the winter are very important because the oil offers your car protection. It is important to get regular oil changes in the winter because as it gets colder the oil thickens. If your engine’s oil is too thick it will not do the best job at keeping your engine lubricated. For best results you can check your owner’s manual for guidance on which oil to use.
Check your battery. The cold weather can reduce your battery capacity. If you check the terminals, cables, and fluid in your battery this will help you make sure your car is ready for winter.
Prepare an emergency kit. It is always important to keep these following items in your car during the winter: a blanket, an extra pair of warm clothes, boots, gloves, a hat, an ice scrapper, jumper cables, a proper tool kit, a spare tire, and proper tire changing equipment. If it happens that you do get stranded during the winter, it is always important to have those items in your car at all times. This will not eliminate the fear of getting stuck, but can eliminate some of the stress if this incident does occur.
Maintaining your oil and checking, checking your antifreeze levels, and checking your battery are three very important things for you to do during the winter. Nobody wants to be stuck in a car in freezing cold weather. The best thing to do for avoiding this situation is to follow the cold weather tips for winterizing your car. Just remember that it is never too late to winterize your car. It is better to be comfortable with driving your car in the winter, than having to stress about whether you will make it to your destination.
Everyday across the country trucks and trailers are loaded and unloaded several times a day. Doing this involves using the correct equipment and a lot of times this will include using chock blocks to prevent vehicles from moving unexpectedly. Unfortunately, chock blocks aren’t always used and too many workers have fallen victim to a sliding or rolling vehicle that started moving when it wasn’t supposed to. This applies to both the drivers of the units and the employees who work around these vehicles. Chock blocks are important and workers need to know how and when to use them to better prevent injuries relating to unexpectedly moving vehicles.
Every year there have been accidents where a vehicle started moving when it was supposed to be still that could have been prevented with chock blocks. This includes drivers who have tried to get out of the cab while the vehicle was moving and ended up getting crushed by their own vehicle, workers who had the misfortune of being in the way of the moving vehicle, and there have even been cases where lift drivers were injured or killed because the forklift they were operating fell in between the the dock edge and a trailer that unexpectedly started moving away. All docking situations should involve chock blocks being used on any trucks or trailers to prevent instances like these from happening. Before ever entering a trailer, drivers should first check and make sure that the wheels have been chock and are securely in place. In a majority of states, OSHA actually requires that the unit wheels be chocked before a forklift can enter it.
Just using chock blocks is not enough though, you need to know how to properly position them so they are actually protecting you. Chock blocks are meant to completely eliminate any movement of the vehicle that is being chocked. If you chock the wheels of a unit and the wheels can still move, even just a little bit, you are not fully protecting yourself from a potential disaster. The best and safest way to chock the wheels of a particular vehicle is to chock the wheels nearest to the dock, especially when dealing with tandem-axle trailers. If the chocks are in the rear, the lift truck entering the trailer will exert downward force which will pin the wheels tighter against the chock. If you chock the front wheels however, you could potentially loosen the chocks when entering the trailer with the lift truck.
When moving shifting loads, it can become very dangerous due to the fact that the loads could possibly shift or completely tip over while being moved. This damages cargo and could even cause the trailer to completely flip over due to the dramatic shift in weight. In these cases, it is sometimes a good idea to use blocking around each individual portion of cargo to prevent shifting and moving. If you do this, make sure the cargo is blocked from moving on all 4 sides. It is also important to be using the correct material. Nails need to be long enough to hold the block in place and the lumber needs to be thick enough to prevent the cargo from shifting or moving without breaking or shattering. NEVER use other freight to block cargo. If the cargo you are blocking looks like it will still move, it probably will. Take the time to ensure that the cargo you are moving is firmly and securely blocked in place. It is not worth having an accident that could cost the company money and possibly injure you in the process.
The correct equipment for chocking and blocking should always be available to you if you regularly work in these types of situations. Loading docks should have chocks that are proven to prevent vehicles from moving and the chock blocks should have a chain or rope for storage so that they don’t get stolen or “disappear” when they are not being used. Don’t underestimate the importance of chock blocks! They are one of the most important tools in preventing vehicle related accidents in the workplace!