Receptacle Adapters

Q: There seems to be some confusion on the use of multiplug outlet adaptors such as changing the receptacle from 2 outlet to 6 in our hospital. I have been told that they have to have a reset, while some have said they only need a surge protector. I cannot seem to find anything in the Life Safety Code. Do you have a comment on this?

A: Yes I do… NFPA 99-2012, section 10.2.4 discusses this to some detail:

  • Three-prong to two-prong adapters are not permitted
  • All adapters must be UL listed for their purpose

So, while this section seems to allow three-to-one receptacle adapters (or 2-to-6 adapters in your case), I would not be in a hurry to implement them. Most surveyors will cite an organization for using these three-to-one adapters because it implies there are not a sufficient number of receptacles in that area, and creates an unsafe environment. According to the NFPA 99-2012 Handbook, it says this about section 10.2.4:

“Any use of adapters or extension cords within healthcare facilities, while permitted subject to the conditions listed in 10.2.4.1 through 10.2.4.3, should be used with caution. The nature of this caution includes attention of the introduction of trip hazards for patients, staff, or visitors; the increased possibility of damage to cords that are lying on the floor; the ease with which grounding resistances or power cord ampacity can be exceeded; and the possibility of incorrect polarization.”

So, my advice is to NOT use these adapters for the reasons stated above. Take the time to increase the number of properly installed receptacles in that area.