Electrical Cord Safety:

Shockingly, not all that well known!

Are you familiar with a double insulated designation and would you be able to identify whether a tool with only a two-pronged end would be safe to use or not on a construction job site? Read on to learn more about this and many of the other electrical hazards sparking a need for education in our industry. 

Electricity is an essential source of energy for most work-related operations in construction and general industry alike. However, fewer sources have a greater potential to cause harm than electricity. Working safely with electricity is possible if you are trained in, understand, and follow certain basic ground rules; all of which we strive to equip our employees with at ICG.  

Training on electrical hazards encompasses considerations in working near and around overhead power lines and wet conditions as well as how to identify and respond to damaged tools and equipment, inadequate wiring and overloaded circuits, exposed electrical parts, improper grounding, and damaged insulation.  

For instance, when thinking about the most common OSHA electrical violation of improper grounding, it is important to know how to identify the difference between an electrical cord that has had the metallic ground pin removed, as well as a two-pronged tool or cord that is not denoted as being double insulated and one that is. In the images below, you can see an example of a cord end that was clearly designed with a metallic grounding pin in place that has since been removed or cut off, that one is relatively easy to spot. However, when it comes to two-pronged tools, it takes a bit of a sharper eye and an informed individual to spot the difference. 

Double insulation works by isolating the tool’s internal electric components from the outer housing and thus third wire grounding is not necessary for double insulated tools. This means that if a tool is used on a job site possessing only two prongs at the male end of the cord, and it was manufactured as such, then the individuals both using a supervising the work need to verify a marking on the tool itself identifying it as being double insulated. If this is not in place, then the tool is not intended or allowable on construction sites per OSHA regulation 1926.302.