Small Appliance

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Policy No.: 2016
Effective Date: 12/16/2014
Revised Date: 12/02/21
Reviewed Date: 12/02/21

Small Appliance and Cooking Devices Policy

Basis of Policy

This policy assures fire safety by defining the proper use of small appliances and cooking devices at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Portable space heaters are prohibited for use on campus. See UNMC Policy No. 2006, Portable Space Heaters.

To prevent unintentional ingestion and/or absorption of chemical, biological or radioactive materials, preparing or consuming food and/or drink is not allowed in clinical settings, laboratories or any areas where chemical, biological or radioactive materials are used or stored. See UNMC Policy No. 2010, Food, Drinks and Cosmetic Use in Laboratory Areas.


All small appliances and cooking devices on the UNMC campus must be operated in a safe manner, consistent with current fire and safety guidelines.

Small Appliances

  1. Small appliances includes but is not limited to toasters, coffee makers/pots, microwave ovens, crockery pots/slow cookers (e.g. Crock-Pots) and electric water heating kettles.
  2. Ensure all small appliances have the UL seal of approval.
  3. All small appliances, with the exception of microwaves, will be unplugged when unattended.
  4. Microwaves and toasters should not be left unattended during operation.
  5. All small appliances must be properly maintained, i.e., clean, no frayed cords, operating correctly and all moving parts free from sticking.
  6. Small appliances can be used in non-clinical and non-laboratory spaces, including break rooms, offices, conference rooms and waiting rooms. Small appliances used for eating/drinking purposes, must not be used in laboratory spaces. See UNMC Policy No. 2010, Food, Drinks and Cosmetic Use in Laboratory Areas.
  7. Do not use small appliances near a sink unless plugged into a Ground Fault Circuit Interruption (GFCI) protected outlet.
  8. Small appliances must be plugged directly into electrical outlets. The use of extension cords, circuit breaker bars and outlet expanders is not allowed in conjunction with these devices.
  9. Plug-in air fresheners and wax warmers (e.g. Scentsy’s) for heating scented wax or candles are not allowed in any area.
  10. Activation of the fire alarm system due to misuse will result in the immediate removal of the small appliance.
  11. Portable space heaters pose several hazards and are prohibited from use on campus. See UNMC Policy No. 2006, Portable Space Heaters.

Special Requirement For Using Toasters

To reduce the fire hazard and false alarms associated with toasters:

  1. Do not operate while unattended.
  2. Do not toast rice cakes, fried foods or non-bread items.
  3. Toast pastry-filled or frosted items (e.g Pop-Tarts/toaster pastries) on the lightest setting.
  4. Do not use a toaster near curtains, drapes, walls or under cabinets.
  5. Do not use a toaster near combustible or flammable liquids or materials.
  6. Never cover a toaster or toast slots during operation.

Cooking Devices

  1. Cooking devices include but are not limited to toaster ovens, convection ovens, electric skillets, griddles, hot plates, pressure cookers, air fryers and grills.
  2. Cooking devices are prohibited from use on campus, unless operated by Food Services or an approved contractor.
  3. Exceptions for using cooking devices at outdoor events may be granted on a case-by-case basis. Contact the campus Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) 402-559-4050 for prior authorization.

Special Instructions for Using Grills on Campus

Grills (electric, charcoal, propane, wood pellet, etc.), both inside and outside on campus, may be operated only by Food Service or an approved contractor following local health department regulations.

It is forbidden to store fuel sources inside any UNMC building.

Additional Information

This page maintained by dkp.