Household extension cords are extremely useful objects used in households all over the country. Sadly, they are also the cause of many often serious and sometimes fatal accidental injuries to family members.
Common household extension cord mistakes
Here are five of the most dangerous mistakes people make when using household extension cords.
- Using the wrong cord: There are many different types, weights and lengths of extension cord, each with a particular range of uses. Using a thin, comparatively short cord meant for indoor use to run a powerful tool at the top of the garden, for example, poses three possible risks of personal injury, namely: if it rains, an indoor cord may not be insulated sufficiently to prevent injury by electrocution; stretching a short cord to reach a distance appliance could cause a trip injury, as well as risking damage to the cord; overloading cords leading to overheating and subsequently injury by fire.
- Covering cords: In spite of the fact that extension cords are meant for temporary use, they are often used as almost permanent fixtures. The risk of such cords overheating is further increased by people ‘hiding’ them under rugs. Not only that, but cords trailing under rugs or across doorways could cause injuries by tripping; as well as potentially developing unnoticed frays likely to cause injuries by fire and/or electrocution.
- Altering cords: It appears that some people take to altering the plugs on cords in order to make them fit into power outlets. Such alterations include anything from filing the plug’s prongs down to clipping the third prong off altogether. Smoke inhalation, burns and electrocution injuries are just some of the risks such alterations present.
- Old, worn cords: Older cords should be inspected for cracks, frays and kinks before each use. Cords that are damaged, old and worn should be replaced. Failure to do this is likely to eventually cause fires or electrocutions.
- Tugging on cords: Unplugging extensions by tugging on the wire, rather than the plug, is likely to dislodge wires inside the plug, which could lead to short circuits, electrocution and fire.
When others misuse cords
Should you be injured by a faulty or wrongfully used extension cord or slips, trips and falls in other places, in a hotel, at work or in a restaurant, for example, you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Contact Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500, for more detailed information on claiming for compensation.