Are U.S. Power Outlets Installed Upside-Down?

Thanks to the early adopter syndrome, Safetyland is saddled with the stupidest and most dangerous electrical mains power plugs and sockets in the world: the NEMA connector. Unlike modern sockets used almost everywhere else, there is nothing to prevent somebody inserting a plug from touching the live prong on the plug while it is being inserted or removed, nor (except on rare “tamper proof” outlets) to keep conductive materials such as screwdrivers and cutlery from being inserted in the receptacle, particularly by small children wishing to “see what will happen”.

Now, a faction of of the Safetyland Safety Patrol says they’ve been doing it wrong all these decades, and these stupid receptacles should be installed with the ground terminal at the top, so a wayward thumb is less likely to contact the hot prong. But does that make any sense?


While I was working with David “PLATO Notes” Woolley on starting up a company to write a conferencing system that would run on a 4.77MHz IBM PC (Fora (I ended up going live on a 7MHz – but that’s another story)) he joined the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link to see if it had any of the social networking flavor of PLATO. He reported back that it was pathetic:

“Everyone was arguing over whether the toilet paper should be oriented to dispense toward or away from the toilet.”


I was taught that by an employer, indirectly, 30 years ago. They hired an expert from NFPA who made the case for that in the training class, convincingly, saying that the board would be voting on it “soon”.

Bureaucrats. /: