Environmental health and safety office

Extension Cords in University Buildings

Campus Health and Safety Policy


Prevent fires caused by overloading circuits or damage to electrical power

Impact on Campus Community

All facilities must comply.
Governing Regulations

NFPA/ANSI 70, National Electrical Code MS 16B.61, Minnesota Uniform Fire Code MS 299F

Program Components

Extension cord construction, extension cord use and maintenance, general safety considerations


Departments: Purchase safe electrical devices and otherwise follow these guidelines Environmental Health and Safety: assure compliance and provides assistance with selection of devices

University Building Code Division: enforces applicable codes

Extension Cord Construction

Multiple outlet adapters (octopus adapters) are not permitted. Multiple strip outlets ,that are fused for the wire size of the connecting cord, are allowed when needed to power electronic devices.

Flexible extension cords shall contain a ground wire and shall be constructed from type S, hard usage material. When cords are used with heating appliances, a type HS cord is required.

At least 14 gage wire is required in a flexible cord servicing a current draw of more than 7 amps.

Extension Cord Use and Maintenance

Extension cords shall not be used as a substitute for permanent wiring. Extension cords shall not be used on stationary equipment or equipment drawing more than 15 amps, such as refrigerators, centrifuges, or power tools.

Extension cords shall not run through, behind or in walls, ceilings or floors or other concealed space. Nor shall they be run in or through ventilation ducts.

Do not place extension cords under carpets, under doors, or other locations that subject the cord to abrasion or other damage.

Avoid creating a tripping hazard; do not place extension cords across walkways.

Discard extension cords with broken wires or damaged insulation; splicing or taping is not allowed.

Where hazardous atmospheres may exist, due to the presence of flammable gases or vapors or explosive dusts, extension cords shall not be used.

The combined length of the appliance cord and extension cord that is used on very portable equipment, such a floor scrubber, projectors and hand tools, shall not exceed 105 feet.

General Safety Considerations

Uncoil long cords when in use, to avoid overheating. Replace short appliance cord with a longer one when appropriate.

Consider the proximity of electrical outlets when locating furniture.

Select a cord with proper insulating materials if there will be exposure to moisture, oil or other chemicals.

Frequently check the cord insulation, plug and connector for damage.