Electrical Safety

Many electrocutions, injuries, and fires can be prevented simply by understanding basic electrical safety principles and adhering to safe practices. UT Austin EHS has developed resources to help educate faculty, staff, and students.

Whether you are a researcher or zone shop employee, electrical safety should be a top priority in your workplace. Awareness of electrical hazards is the key to reducing the staggering number of electrically-related fires, injuries and deaths that occur every year.

The following resources and programs from EHS will help you gain a better understanding of how to use electricity and electrical products safely:

Extension Cords

Extension cords often are necessary for many outdoor activities and events. Because they are exposed, flexible, and unsecured, they are more susceptible to damage than fixed wiring. Hazards are created when cords, cord connectors, receptacles, and cord-and plug-connected equipment are improperly used and maintained. The following are the basic requirements when using extension cords for temporary use:

  1. Do not plug extension cords together. Only use an extension cord that is the correct length for each application. Extending the length of an extension cord by “daisy-chaining” more than one cord together can lead to overheating the cord by overloading it, creating a serious fire hazard.
  2. Do not create a trip hazard with an extension cord. Secure extension cord to the ground to prevent a trip hazard for pedestrians, however do not use metal staples or nails to secure the cord.
  3. Do not exceed the rating of the extension cord. The following fact sheet provides guidance for various cord lengths, amperage ratings, typical appliance uses, and minimum wire gauges. The fact sheet also provides extension cord inspection criteria to be performed prior to each use. 

Download the Extension Cord Factsheet (PDF)

Nonpermanent Electrical Inspection Program

This program applies to all UT Austin employees and contractors (who do not have a similar program) working under supervision of any UT Austin department and covers all extension cords, receptacles which are not part of building or structure, and equipment connected by cord and plug, which are available for use or used by employees or contractors.

Download the Nonpermanent Electrical Inspection Program (PDF)