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What Is the Color Coding for Extension Cords?

Jim Crescitelli

The color of an electrical extension cord does not refer to its use or function, but a system of color-coded tags has been suggested to mark a cord's grounding compliance after inspection according to OSHA standards.

Electrical extension cords need to be inspected for safety on a regular basis.

Testing the Safety of Electrical Cords

The OSHA Assured Equipment Grounding Conductor Program offers testing guidelines. To ensure safety, inspections must be performed daily on cord sets and plug-connected equipment. Every three months, two OSHA-mandated tests must be performed on these cords: a continuity test and a terminal connection test.

Record Keeping and Cord Marking

Proper records must be kept of the quarterly inspections. It is suggested that a color-coded system of markers be adopted to identify cords that are checked during the quarterly test runs. This enables workers and inspectors on a job site to quickly identify cords in need of an updated testing.

Color Coding of Tested Cords

The colors chosen are up to the designated inspectors, though vinyl or electrical tape in "seasonal" colors has been suggested by various individuals in charge of the process. Red markers can be used to mark cords tested during the winter holiday season; green can be employed during the spring months; etc. A color-coded marking system that is easy to understand and implement will ensure that the required processes are properly facilitated.