Daisy Chains

 In 2022, Tip of the Week

When you were young, did you pick flowers and chain them together to wear in your hair or to present to your teacher or mother? That is one type of daisy chain, but it is not what we are talking about. What we are talking about today is something we saw in the pictures from last week’s safety tip. To help you, here’s the picture to refresh your memory.

Like the flowers you may have chained together, the cords are connected or “chained” together. How many cords do you see connected in this picture? We counted at least three cords chained together, two of which were also plugged to a multi-plug adapter as well as being plugged into each other. Are you wondering why this is a problem? Everything was going well in the store where the picture was taken. Displays were properly lighted, and the electrical cords seemed to be in good condition. In a leased storefront where they cannot adjust or alter the electrical system, these cords were working for them.

What’s the problem?

It’s a potential energy hazard. The International Fire Code (IFC) 605, and 29 CFR Part 1910.305 says that these cords, also known as temporary wiring, “shall not be used as permanent wiring.” and that they “shall be plugged directly into an approved receptacle, power tap, or multiplug adapter….” Remember that when a regulator says “shall” – it means it is mandatory. Unfortunately, this store would not pass a fire or an OSHA inspection.

They are also setting themselves up for a potential electrical hazard. The cords are not meant to carry the amount of electrical energy that they are being tasked to do. The cords could get hot, causing them to melt, or creating a spark, either of could be a potential fire hazard.

Instead of daisy chaining their temporary cords, the store could have purchased multi-plug adapters with longer cords. Plugging the cords into a multiplug adapter reduces the hazards and complies with the fire code and OSHA regulations.

What about holiday decorating? It’s almost that time of year. And sometimes our offices, store fronts, and even our homes don’t outlets (approved receptacles) where we want or need them to be for holiday decorations. OSHA thought of that. 29 CFR Part 1910.305 (a)(2)(i)(B) says that you can use temporary wiring “for a period not to exceed 90 days for Christmas decorative lighting….” We believe that could be applied to any holiday, not just Christmas.

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