What’s Wrong With This Picture?

| Featured News, OSHA, USF Safety Florida

Written by: Keith Brown, Safety Supervisor, USF SafetyFlorida

A portable air compressor was found being fed by two, 100 feet long, 16 gauge extension cords.

While the extension cords were suspended overhead to avoid contact with the water on the floor, water was encroaching upon the area in which the air compressor was located.

29 CFR 1926.403(b)(1)Examination. The employer shall ensure that electrical equipment is free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. Specifically, water was observed encroaching upon the area where live electrical equipment was set on the floor.

29 CFR 1926.403(b)(2) – Installation and use. Listed, labeled, or certified equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with instructions included in the listing, labeling, or certification. This applies to the air compressor and the two extension cords, none of which were being used in accordance with their listing or labeling. The air compressor manufacturer prohibits the use of an extension cord longer than 50 feet, nor smaller than 14 AWG (American Wire Gauge). Wire size increases as gauge number decreases, so 12 and 10 AWG may also be used. 

Exposure to potential severe electrical shock and electrocution hazards. Potential burns and smoke inhalation from fire as a result of electrical overloads.

Corrective Actions:
Locate electrical tools and equipment well away from areas subject to the accumulation of water. Use extension cords properly sized for amperage and length for their anticipated loads. Alternatively, use more sections of air hose so the compressor may remain close to its power source. Use and maintain all equipment in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.