Tamper Resistant Outlets
What are Tamper Resistant Receptacles?
Tamper Resistant (TR) Receptacles are the result of a safety measure set in place by National Electric Code (NEC) to help prevent electric shock. TR receptacles prevent electrical contact with foreign objects, thus preventing electric shock and even death. These outlets have spring-loaded shutters that must be simultaneously engaged by the blades of a plug in order to release, allowing the metal prongs to make contact to create an electrical circuit. Therefore, when a foreign object, like a paper clip or a pin for instance, is inserted, the safety shutter will not allow access to the live contact. When a plug is removed and the receptacle is not in use, the shutters close and both contact openings are covered.
This does not cover the ground receptacle since that would limit the number of compatible devices by requiring all plugs to have a ground plug. Only the line and load contacts are shielded in order to accept common household and office appliances.
Who is at risk?
Children, mostly. Studies show that 89% of electric burn and shock treatments are for children 6 years of age and under. NEC first implemented Tamper Resistant (TR) requirements in pediatric patient care areas back in 2002, and this important safety regulation has since moved its way into a multitude of other facilities where children may be at risk, including day care centers, elementary and nursery schools, doctor's offices and lobbies, retail operations that cater to children, and most importantly, homes. As of 2008, any new and renovated dwelling is required to have TR receptacles.
Please also note that while receptacle covers that limit improper access to the energized parts of a receptacle are permitted, they are not UL listed for safety and tamper resistance. They may also become a choking hazard if removed. Also, plastic plug-in inserts and wall plates with contact shutters are listed only as insulating devices aimed at energy conservation only and are not UL approved for safety and tamper resistance. TR receptacles provide the best protection and there is no substitute for the safety they provide.
Keep in mind NEC regulations are updated every 3 years and it is an evolving process. TR receptacles are ONLY required in places where children may be present in the interest of child safety, and they are not required in office settings and commercial applications. TR receptacles are also not required on "relocatable power taps" per UL classification, though many of our units have the TR option for added safety in the event that they will be used in home or hospitality settings. Please consult with your electrician or local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ, an NEC approved inspector) for safety compliance standards.