Electric Powertools and Cords

Use only electrical equipment that is approved for use in the workplace and for the type of work to be performed. The use of approved equipment does not eliminate all dangers if the equipment is damaged or is used in adverse conditions, such as in rain or wet areas.

Electrical hazards are doubly hazardous in that there is not only the chance of electrocution but also; there is the probability that an electric shock will cause an indirect injury such as a fall.

Cord-connected portable equipment and supply cords must be maintained in good condition and be suitable for the task to be performed.

Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) must be used for portable electrical equipment when working outside or in wet or damp conditions.

You may Receive an Electrical Shock

  • From a damaged or defective power tool.
  • From a damaged or defective extension cords.
  • From overloading a switch or over-riding a by-pass.
  • By not grounding electrical equipment.


  • Safe Work Procedures

  • Inspect tools, switches, power cords, and electrical fittings for damage prior to each use. Repair or replace damaged equipment.
  • Switch tools off before connecting/disconnecting from the power supply. Disconnect the power supply before making adjustments.
  • Make sure tools are both properly grounded and double-insulated.
  • Grounded tools must have a three-wire cord with a three-prong plug and plugged into a properly grounded three-pole outlet.
  • Do not use a tool where the third (ground) prong is broken off.
  • Do not bypass the tool’s ON/OFF switch by connecting and disconnecting the power cord. Suspend power cords over walkways or working areas wherever possible to eliminate tripping hazards.
  • Do not use extension cords as permanent wiring. They must only be used to temporarily supply power to an area that does not have a power outlet.
  • Do not allow vehicles or equipment to pass over unprotected power cords. Cords should be put into electrical conduits or protected by other means to prevent damage.
  • Keep power cords away from heat, water, and oil.
  • Do not use light-duty power cords for heavy load applications. Do not carry electrical tools by the power cord.
  • Do not disconnect the power supply by pulling or jerking the cord from the outlet. Pulling the cord rather than the plug may result in electric shock.
  • Do not tie knots in power cords. Knots can cause short circuits and electric shocks. Loop the cords or use a twist lock style plug.

  • Do not overload the circuit by plugging multiple power cords into one outlet.

    Remember:   The best way to eliminate an electrical hazard is to act as if each exposure to an electrical hazard may be your last.  Never take electricity for granted, “it’s a killer.”

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • Who is responsible for the company assured grounding program?