When handled properly, electricity powers cities and industries. But when incorrectly managed, it can become very dangerous. For this reason, there are specific standards on how to control electrical currents.
Though these standards are helpful, they are overlooked all too often. Electrical wiring methods were listed as one of the top 10 most-cited violations in fiscal year 2017, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. This type of infraction has shown up frequently in OSHA's top 10 violations over the years, indicating a common challenge across many industries and worksites.
Incorrect use of flexible cords and cables
With 276 citations, using flexible cords and cables as a substitute for fixed wiring of a structure was the No. 1 issue OSHA found related to electrical wiring methods in 2017. OSHA carefully lays out how flexible cords and cables may and may not be used. Additional prohibited uses include:
- Running cords or cables through holes in walls, ceilings or floors.
- Running cords or cables through doorways, windows and other openings.
- Attaching cords or cables to building surfaces.
- Concealing cords or cables in building walls, ceilings or floors.
- Installing cords or cables in raceways (unless otherwise permitted).
Safely using spliced wires
Splicing wires must be done carefully. Electricity flows like water: Controlling it requires knowledge of how to harness it and guide it along a path.
According to standards for electrical wiring methods, flexible cords can only be used in continuous lengths without a splice or tap. But hard-service cords and junior hard-service cords that are No. 14 or larger may be repaired if spliced so that the splice retains the insulation and outer sheath properties, and is used in the same way as the cord being spliced. Furthermore, when connecting flexible cords and cables to devices and fittings, the joints and terminals need to be protected from stress to avoid pulling.
Inadequate insulation of wires
One final standard that wasn't noted in OSHA's top 10, but is nonetheless important, pertains to extruded insulated tubing. Properly insulated wiring keeps the electric current contained and lowers the risk of injury. According to UL, tubing can be used to provide insulation for the following:
- Bus bars.
- Motor leads.
- Transformer leads.
- Terminal lugs.
- Small assemblies of electronic components.
The heat shrink tubing available from Master Appliance is compliant with UL 224, the standard that addresses extruded insulated tubing. It's also intelligently designed to keep wires protected and reduce the risk of slippage or tearing after the tubing has been applied. Reach out to learn more.