The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has proposed new rules for extension cords. The new specifications address concerns about fires and injuries from extension cords. More than a thousand people died from extension cord accidents during the time period from 1980 to 2013, according to the CPSC.
New requirements include minimum wire size, sufficient strain relief, proper polarization, proper continuity, and jacketed insulated cords. Specifically, 18 AWG (American Wire Gauge) cords or larger must be able to withstand a 30-pound pull force on the connection between fitting and cord. Outdoor power cords must have a jacketed insulated flexible cords that consists of two or three insulated wires covered by a jacket of insulation. Additionally, cords with more than one outlet must have outlet covers.
If extension cords fail to meet all requirements they will be considered a substantial product hazard and will be subject to corrective action. The Commission can order a manufacturer, importer, distributor, or retailer to repair, replace, or refund consumers if a cord doesn’t meet the new safety specifications. The CPSC invites comments on the proposal from now until April 20th this year.