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Electrical Safety Guidelines

Follow these guidelines for general electrical safety:

  • Be familiar with the electrical hazards associated with your workplace.
  • Unplug electrical equipment before repairing or servicing it.
  • If a prong breaks off inside an outlet, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Call the Facilities Department for assistance.
  • Ensure that outlets are firmly mounted. Report loose outlets to the Facilities Department.
  • Report all electrical problems, including tripped breakers, broken switches, and flickering lights, to the Facilities Department.
  • All appliances used in Texas State University - San Marcos buildings must be UL (Underwriter's Laboratory) or FM (Factory Mutual) labeled.
  • Do not use an appliance that sparks, smokes, or becomes excessively hot, unless the appliance is specifically designed to exhibit these characteristics.
  • Portable electrical heaters must be placed to avoid causing a trip hazard and must be kept away from combustible material. Never leave a heater unattended. Unplug the heater at the end of the day or when not in use.
  • Keep electrical equipment away from water, unless the appliance is specifically designed for use around water, such as a wet-dry shop vacuum.
  • Use Ground Fault Interrupter Circuits (GFCI) whenever possible.
  • Be aware of overhead power lines when working with tall equipment (e.g., grain augers, cranes, sailboats, etc.).
  • Follow University Energy Lockout/Tagout Procedures (FSS PPS 04.09), as appropriate.

Follow these guidelines for electrical plug and cord safety:

  • Do not remove the prongs of an electrical plug. If plug prongs are missing, loose, or bent, replace the entire plug.
  • Do not use an adapter or extension cord to defeat a standard grounding device. (e.g., only place three-prong plugs in three-prong outlets; do not alter them to fit in a two-prong outlet.)
  • Use extension cords only when necessary and only on a temporary basis. Do not use extension cords in place of permanent wiring. Request new outlets if your work requires equipment in an area without an outlet.
  • Use extension cords that are the correct size or rating for the equipment in use. The diameter of the extension cord should be the same or greater than the cord of the equipment in use.
  • Do not run electrical cords above ceiling tiles or through walls.
  • Keep electrical cords away from areas where they may be pinched and areas where they may pose a tripping or fire hazard (e.g., doorways, walkways, under carpet, etc.)
  • Avoid plugging more than one appliance in each outlet. If multiple appliances are necessary, use an approved power strip with surge protector and circuit breaker. Do not overload the circuit breaker.
  • Discard damaged cords, cords that become hot, or cords with exposed wiring.
  • Never unplug an appliance by pulling on the cord; pull on the plug.

May 2011
Revised November 2014