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Norman Sperling
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Unsafe Safety Requirements: Short Power Cords

© Norman Sperling, October 13, 2012

Kitchen appliances come with absurdly short power cords. They say it's to prevent you from tripping over a longer cord when carrying it.

Bosh!

Short cords would be safe only if people use those appliances within that easy distance of appropriate plugs. But that just plain flat-out does not happen! Hasn't anybody looked at real-life kitchens? Homes and workplaces of all sorts?

People have to use extension cords to reach an outlet. This introduces more unsafe factors. The total length is unlikely to be "just right" and can't be too short, so it is usually too long. The extension cord is easily long enough to trip over. Extension cords are often rated for lower wattage than the appliance uses, risking fire.

So too-short cords breed resentment and frustration, cause further expense for extension cords, and probably induce more danger than they avert.

Instead, use a reel inside the appliance to dispense however much cord is needed. Give it the same kind of spring loading and lock/release used on tape measures. Every cord will be just the right length. For carrying, retract the whole cord back onto its reel. Then unreel the right length for its new position. Cord is cheap, springs are cheap, reels are cheap. The expense of sufficient volume to hold the stuff might be the biggest cost. That should be a good tradeoff for satisfying consumers and increasing true safety.

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