Temporary Power – Take it Seriously

No matter what the industry, temporary power is usually necessary. In 
any industry where changes, modifications, or new construction is 
required, temporary electrical power is used to get the job done.<br><br>However, temporary doesn’t mean that regulatory requirements go out the window. Molex/Woodhead

Steve Maurer, IME

No matter what the industry, temporary power is usually necessary. In any industry where changes, modifications, or new construction is required, temporary electrical power is used to get the job done.

However, temporary doesn’t mean that regulatory requirements go out the window. In fact, some regulations or standards for temporary installations are even more stringent than for fixed, in-place installs.

You're probably familiar with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the National Electrical Code (NEC®) as published by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). The NEC® is also referred to as NFPA 70.

You will find regulations concerning temporary power in all of these.

A word of caution: This article in not intended to replace any of these codes and regulations. It is merely to inform you that such standards exist and should be followed. The safety of all personnel involved depends on following the rules set forth in those documents.

Not only that, but stiff fines and penalties can be levied against any company failing to do so.

What I want to stress is that you need to treat temporary power just as seriously as permanent electrical systems. Perhaps, even more seriously. With cords running everywhere and potential for hazardous conditions everywhere, extreme care must be used.

While battery-powered equipment like drills, grinders, and small saws has no doubt made some tasks easier and safer, powered equipment still creates problems. When heavy-duty power is required, there's no substitute for cord and plug tools.

Some things to remember: cords must be of heavy or heavy-duty construction to withstand the rigors of construction or remodeling. And, GFCI must either be built into the cord set or supplied at the male end of the cord. Sometimes, a multi-tap device is used to supply several tools and devices. The best ones have GFCI built into them for each individual outlet.

Now, this should go without saying... but, I'll say it anyway. Extension cords and other forms of temporary wiring are not to be used as part of the permanent installation, with the exception of those allowed by code. Pendant drops are one notable exception.

Make sure that the cord and fittings used are rated for the environment and conditions of the jobsite. And, of course, be sure that cords and associated components are inspected before and during use. Anything that's damaged should be taken out of service immediately for repair. Tape is not an acceptable repair for damaged cord jackets.

Temporary power is an important part of jobsite work. Make sure to treat it with the care and respect due.


Photo courtesy of Molex/Woodhead

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