Safe Use of Extension Cords

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Extension cords can be found in many types of workplaces, from offices and warehouses to retail stores and construction jobsites.

Unfortunately, they’re often commonly misused. Let’s go over some do’s and don’ts of extension cord safety from the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation.


  • Inspect an extension cord for physical damage before use.
  • Check that the cord matches the wattage rating on the appliance or tool you’re using.
  • Make sure all cords have been approved by an independent testing laboratory such as UL.
  • Fully insert the extension cord into the outlet.
  • Keep cords away from water.
  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupter protection when using extension cords in wet or damp environments.
  • Unplug extension cords when not in use.
  • Consider installing overhead pendants to reduce trip hazards.


  • Use an indoor extension cord outdoors.
  • Overload cords with more than the proper electrical load.
  • Run extension cords through doorways, holes in ceilings, walls or floors.
  • Daisy chain, or connect, multiple power strips together.
  • Move, bend or modify any of the extension cord plug’s metal parts.
  • Force a plug into an outlet.
  • Drive over an extension cord.
  • Attach extension cords to the wall with nails or staples.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

10 tips for preventing falls at work

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction is an annual event. But employers should focus on fall prevention all year.

“Jobsites change and crews come and go – you may have new workers who missed the stand-down and new projects or phases of work with different fall hazards or considerations,” CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training says. The center has 10 tips you can use to support your workplace fall prevention program.

  1. Have another stand-down. If you already had a fall-related stand-down, plan another and change up the activities or specific topics.
  2. Focus on rescue. Do you have a plan in place in the event someone falls? Make sure everyone knows what the plan is.
  3. Create or revise your written fall prevention plan. Put together a task force to develop a project-specific fall protection plan.
  4. Model how to inspect equipment. Supervisors need to provide adequate time for daily inspections, and they should model how to self-inspect fall protection and other equipment.
  5. Partner with community events. Help raise awareness about the importance of fall protection by participating in community events.
  6. Share a testimonial. Invite a previously injured worker or family member to speak in-person, or use video clips or written testimonials.
  7. Include fall protection articles in company communications. Point to a recent construction fall tragedy in the news and urge workers to learn from it.
  8. Provide fall prevention training. Remind supervisors and lead workers that if they work safely and use fall protection correctly, their co-workers are more likely to do so.
  9. Encourage workers to speak up. Workers often stay quiet rather than ask questions, even if they don’t know the right way to do something or they’ve identified an issue that may lead to an unsafe situation.
  10. Make sure your message reaches everyone. Provide training that is culturally and linguistically appropriate for the workforce.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Tips for handling pallets

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Puncture wounds, sprained ankles and broken toes are just some of the injuries that can result from handling empty skids and pallets. With about 2 billion pallets circulating in the United States, according to the U.S. Forest Service, the Texas Department of Insurance offers tips to material handlers to help them avoid injury. Among them:
  • Inspect pallets and skids for hazards such as loose nails, splinters or other defects. And be cautious: Stacks of pallets stored outdoors for a long period of time may be home to wasps or snakes.
  • Use safe lifting techniques. “Special care needs to be taken when lifting skids,” TDI says. “It usually requires two people of similar height lifting in unison to avoid injury. We need to bend at the knees and use the strong leg muscles to accomplish the lift. Keep the back straight and stay close to the object being lifted.”
  • Don’t stack skids and pallets higher than 4 feet. Keep them flat – never stack them on end. When using separate skid runners and platforms, TDI recommends stacking them in a rack no more than 32 units high.
  • Wear hand protection, such as leather work gloves, and foot protection.
  • Make sure the stacks don’t block emergency equipment or exits. Pallets shouldn’t be sticking out into aisles where someone can bump into or trip over them. Workers also should not have to walk or step over them.
  • Discard or repair unsafe units.
  • Keep your work area clean.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Electrical equipment in the office: do’s and don’ts

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New outlet up close screwdriver.The typical office features a collection of wires, outlets, cables and other electrical equipment. Although ever-present and used on a daily basis, electrical equipment requires constant awareness of its associated hazards, as well as training on appropriate use, storage and maintenance, the Indiana Department of Labor reminds employers and workers in its Indiana Labor Insider newsletter.

“Improper use of electrical equipment can create overheated equipment, which can lead to fires, shock and electrocution,” warns IDOL, which provides some do’s and don’ts regarding certain electrical equipment.

Extension cords
DON’T use an extension cord as a permanent source of energy and never connect multiple extension cords, also known as “daisy chaining.”
DON’T run flexible extension cords under carpet or through doorways or walls. They’re not a substitute for permanent wiring and shouldn’t be attached to walls/floors with staples or clips.
DO make sure flexible extension cords have the current capacity for the load current – “12-gauge wire cords are recommended.”
DO protect all cords with special covers when subject to foot traffic. “Bright colors and high-visibility elements are helpful.”
DO make sure extension cords have appropriate insulation and/or covers to protect against damage, which could lead to an increased risk of fire and shock injuries.

Power strips
DON’T use power strips as a permanent power source and refrain from daisy chaining them.
DON’T use a power strip that doesn’t have overcurrent protection. Those that have electrical spike protection for digital equipment may be used as a permanent power source – but not daisy chained to an extension cord.
DO use wall outlets for equipment that is left on permanently, leaving the use of power strips for short-term projects only.

Flexible electrical cords
DON’T run flexible electrical cords under carpet or other combustible covers. “This is a serious fire hazard from the potential of overheated cords. Additionally, these cords could be damaged by heavy or sharp objects resting on them, moving across them, or dropped on them.”

 use receptacles equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters in restrooms and roof outlets – they’re required within 6 feet of a sink or wet process on a worksite. “This protects the worker from the risk of shock and electrocution.”

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Time for a safety walkaround

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.


Safety walkarounds demonstrate an employer’s commitment to safety and allow managers to see for themselves how effective their safety and health management program is, OSHA says in a fact sheet from its Safe + Sound campaign.

Walkarounds can be broken down into three parts: pre-inspection, onsite inspection and post-inspection.


  • Plan to focus your inspections on areas where hazards have been identified. Check to see if previously identified hazards have been abated or if further action is needed.
  • If your workplace has a safety committee, schedule a pre-inspection meeting and invite workplace safety representatives as well as other managers and supervisors to get their perspective on the worksite’s safety issues.
  • Determine what safety equipment you’ll need to conduct the inspection.
  • Lead by example: Wear appropriate personal protective equipment.

Onsite inspection

Look for easily observable hazards first, such as:

  • Tripping hazards
  • Blocked exits
  • Frayed/exposed electrical wires
  • Missing machine guards
  • Poor housekeeping
  • Poorly maintained equipment

During the inspection, talk to employees at their workstations. They’re the ones likely to know the most about the hazards. Encourage conversation by asking open-ended questions such as, “What’s the most hazardous task in your job? What makes it hazardous?” and “If you’ve been injured, what was the injury and how did it happen?”

Another important part of an inspection is observing workers as they perform their job. Do they lift heavy objects? Do they stand/sit in awkward postures? Are they performing repetitive motions? If so, take notes and photos. “Try to find solutions for hazards while you are conducting the inspection by applying your own creativity and inspiring the creativity of workers,” OSHA recommends.


Soon after the inspection, prepare an abatement plan containing a list of the hazards found, corrective actions needed and a timeline for implementation. “Some complex hazards may require further evaluation, study, or engineering work to design and implement appropriate controls,” OSHA cautions.

Share the abatement plan with managers, supervisors and workers, and track progress by sharing or posting periodic updates to the plan.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Setting up a workplace safety and health program


Looking for some quick recommendations for setting up a workplace safety and health program?
OSHA has 10 steps:
  1. Establish safety and health as a core value of your organization. Convey to your workers that starting and finishing their day safely is the way you want to do business. Let them know you intend to work with them to find and fix any hazards that could result in injury or illness.
  2. Lead by example. Model safe behaviors and make safety part of your daily conversations with workers.
  3. Create a reporting system. Develop and communicate a process for workers to report injuries, illnesses, near misses, hazards, or safety and health concerns without fear of retaliation. Include an option for anonymous reporting.
  4. Train your workers. Teach workers how to identify and control workplace hazards.
  5. Conduct inspections. Walk through the workplace with staff and ask them to identify any activity, piece of equipment or materials that concern them. Use checklists to help identify problems.
  6. Collect hazard control ideas. Ask workers for ideas on how to make workplace improvements and then follow up on their suggestions. Give them time during business hours, if possible, to research solutions.
  7. Implement hazard controls. Assign workers the task of choosing, implementing and evaluating the solutions they suggest.
  8. Plan for emergencies. Identify possible emergency scenarios and develop instructions on how to react in each case. Discuss these procedures during employee meetings and post them in a visible location in the workplace.
  9. Seek input on changes. Before you make big changes to the workplace, consult with workers to identify potential safety or health issues.
  10. Make improvements to your program. Set aside a regular time to discuss safety and health issues, with the goal of identifying ways to improve the program.

McCraren Compliance sees the solution in our people. We are developing each person into a safety leader by recognizing and valuing them as humans and teaching them to do the same with their co-workers. We are creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.