Policy: Extension Cord Usage



    To establish a uniform policy regarding the use of extension cords on NMSU campus. An extension cord is defined as an insulated, flexible electric wire fitted with a plug at one end and one or more outlets on the other, typcially used to plug in devices whose cords are not long enough to reach an outlet.  However unless noted, this will include any device which meets this definition.  


    All extension cord use shall comply with NFPA 70 (National Electric Code).

    1. Extension cords and power taps shall not be used as a substitute for the fixed wiring of a facility, office,  laboratory or shop.
    2. Extension cords shall not be used for permanent or semi-permanent installations, ie, must be less than 15 days. Cords designed for use with portable equipment which are unplugged at days end, may be used within this scope.
    3. Extension cords shall be listed by the Underwriters' Laboratory (U.L.) and bear the U.L. label.
    4. Extension cords shall be a minimum of 16 gauge copper wire and rated for not less than 13 amperes, shall be of the grounding type (three wire) and shall not be used in excess of their rated capacity.
    5. Extension cords shall be used only in continuous lengths without splice or tap. Terminals and insulation shall be free of defects such as cracked, split or nicked insulation; exposed wires; knots; burn marks; loose connectors; or other damage that may present a fire or electrocution hazard. Any cording showing these defects must be removed, whole or in part, and destroyed. Electric cording may not be repaired for reuse by slicing or tape.
    6. Extension cords, power taps and surge protectors may not be connected in series.
    7. Extension cords used in wet or damp areas shall be connected to a ground fault interrupter device or GFCI circuit only. Extension cords shall not be used in bathrooms.
    8. For three wire extension cords, the ground prong shall not be removed. Departments may request the installation of three prong type wall outlets where not provided.
    9. Proper polarization shall be maintained at all times.
    10. For extension cords equipped with single plug-in capability, a multiple plug adapter may be utilized provided the adapter is U.L. listed and rated for not less than 125 volts/15 amperes. Multiple plug adapters are not otherwise permitted in conjunction with an extension cord.
    11. Extension cords shall not be covered by carpeting, clothing, furniture, or other objects that could prevent adequate air circulation and cooling of the cord.
    12. Extension cords shall not be tacked, stapled or otherwise affixed in semi-permanent or permanent manner. Affixing a cord to a surface with tape to prevent tripping is acceptable for temporary usage within the scope of this policy.
    13. Major appliances such as refrigerators, television sets, or other devices drawing currents for starting motors shall not be connected to an extension cord.
    14. Multi-plug surge-protection devices may be used as needed for low amperage electronic appliances, such as computer equipment, televisions, stereos, radios and similar devices. They must be UL-approved (or by a similar nationally recognized testing laboratory) and contain an integral circuit breaker. These devices are not designed for and are not to be used for refrigerators, microwaves, coffee pots, hot plates toaster ovens, electric motors, and similar high amperage devices.

For more information regarding this policy, contact either

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Contact Information 
 Environmental Health& Safety: MSC-3578, P.O. Box 30001, Academic Research Bldg. C, Rm. 109
    Street delivery address: NMSU, 1620 Standley Dr., Academic Research Bldg. C, Las Cruces, NM 88003
    Training Office: Academic Research Unit C, rm110 (see map ), 
    Telephone: 575-646-3327; FAX: 575-646-7898. Website - http://www.nmsu.edu/safety
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    This page was last updated on 09/21/2014