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Portable Generator Safety

​This Tailgate Talk is part of the NLTAPA collection.

Portable generators can be a very useful piece of equipment during a power outage. Portable generators can also be very dangerous. If you plan on using a portable generator, it is essential that you take proper precautions for your safety and the safety of those working to restore the power.

Here are a few tips that will help you use a portable generator safely:

  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions before running your generator.

  • Generators emit carbon monoxide. Never use your generator inside your home, garage, or any other confined, enclosed area.

  • Operate generators away from open windows, vents, or doors.

  • Never operate a generator near combustible materials.

  • Maintain your generator according to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.

  • Gasoline vapors are extremely flammable. Allow the generator to cool at least a few minutes before attempting to refuel.

  • Never plug your generator directly into your home outlet. If you are connecting a generator to your home electrical system, be sure to install a power transfer switch.

  • If you have to use extension cords, be sure that they are the grounded type and are rated for the specific application.

  • Coiled electrical cords can get extremely hot; always uncoil cords and lay them in flat open areas.

  • Generators produce powerful voltage – Take precautions to protect your generator from exposure to rain and snow.

  • Use caution - Be sure to not overload your generator.

Resources and References:

OSHA Portable Generator Grounding Requirements

OSHA Portable Generator Fact Sheet URL

OSHA Portable Generator Safety Webpage

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