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Power Tools and Extension Cords

Electric power tools help improve our efficiency and allow us to easily perform tasks that otherwise would be difficult or impossible. They also have the potential for causing shocks or severe electrical injuries or death when used or maintained improperly.

Know how to use your tools safely. Read the operator's manual or take any necessary training, and operate the tool according to the manufacturer's instructions. Only use tools that have been tested and approved by Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Canadian Underwriters Laboratories (ULC) or both.

Power Tool Safety

  • Inspect cords and plugs for defects such as cracking and fraying, missing, loose or faulty prongs, and other signs of wear or faults in the cord insulation. If you find any defects, do not use the tool. If a power cord feels too warm or hot or if a tool is sparking when in use, stop using it and have it checked by an electrician or other qualified person. Hot cords are a warning that the plug wires or connections are failing. To find a qualified electrician, please visit the Electrical Safety Authority website.
  • Test all tools for effective grounding with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) before use.
  • Store battery packs safely so that no metal parts, such as nails, screws or wrenches, can come in contact with the battery terminals. This could short the battery and cause sparks, fires or burns.
  • Switch off the tools before connecting them to a power supply.
  • Disconnect the power supply before making adjustments or changing accessories.
  • Do not bypass the ON/OFF switch and operate the tools by connecting and disconnecting the power cord.
  • Stop using an electric power tool if you feel a tingle in your fingers. This is a warning that the tool is faulty and needs repair.

Power Cord Safety

  • Do not carry electrical tools by the power cord.
  • During use, keep power cords out of the path that the tool will take.
  • Suspend power cords over aisles or work areas to eliminate stumbling or tripping hazards. Do not walk on or allow vehicles or other moving equipment to pass over unprotected power cords. Cords should be put in conduits or protected by placing planks on each side of them.
  • Only use extension cords that have been tested and approved by Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Canadian Underwriters Laboratories (ULC) or both. Ensure they have the proper wire size (gauge) for the length of cord and power requirements of the electric tool that you are using. This will prevent the cord from overheating.
  • For outdoor work, use outdoor extension cords marked "W-A" or "W", which indicates they are rated for outdoor use.
  • Keep power cords away from heat, water, oil, sharp edges and moving parts because they can damage the insulation and cause a shock. Keep hands, tools and work areas dry. If working in damp weather is unavoidable, wear rubber gloves and shoes and ensure the tool is connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
  • Use a power bar or power distribution strip that has an integral power cord and a built-in overcurrent protection if more than one receptacle plug is needed. Do not connect or splice extension cords together to make a longer connection because the resulting extension cord may not be able to provide sufficient current or power safely. Never use extension cords as permanent wiring, they should only be used as a temporary power supply to an area that does not have a power outlet.
  • Pull the plug, not the cord when unplugging a tool. Pulling the cord causes wear and may adversely affect the wiring to the plug and cause electric shock.
  • Do not tie power cords in knots. Knots can cause short circuits and shocks. Loop the cords or use a twist lock plug.

 

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