Power Tools and Cords

All power tools can be dangerous. Safety instructions must be followed carefully.

NOTE:  The danger is increased if the wrong power cord is used.  The wrong power cord can reduce the life of a tool or cause a fire by overheating a circuit.   

Safe Work Procedures

  • Inspect tools, power cords, and electrical fittings for damage prior to each use. Repair or replace damaged equipment.
  • Switch tools off before connecting to a power supply or making adjustments.
  • Make sure tools are either properly grounded or double-insulated.
  • Do not break off the third (ground) prong on a plug.
  • 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 suspend with nails.
  • 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 placing them between two pieces of lumber of suitable strength.
  • 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.
  • Do not tie knots in power cords. Knots can cause short circuits and electric shocks.
  • Do not overload the circuit by plugging several power cords into one outlet.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) are the best choice when working outside or in wet or damp conditions.

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

  • How can you identify a damaged power tool or cord?
  • How can you prevent yourself from shocks?