Compliance & Precision News Round-Up - Issue 28
27th February 2014
This issue covers:
- ESC Round table on product safety
- Improved LED testing with Clare HAL
- Moves to beat the component counterfeiters
- Hire sector plugs into reliable electrical safety testing
- Unsafe electrical testing leads to HSE fine
A round table follow-up to the Electrical Safety Council's (ESC) highly successful electrical Product Safety Conference will take place on 5th March in Church House, Westminster.
The event will bring together senior industry figures to progress the key electrical and electronic appliance issues emerging from last year’s conference.
"Our Product Safety Conference was very well-received and gained significant coverage in both trade and consumer media", explains Martyn Allen, Head of the ESC's Technical Unit.
"However, the primary focus - for both the conference and the forthcoming round-table – is recalls and traceability. In recent years, high profile product recalls have seriously impacted on both corporate reputations and consumer safety. Currently, product recall campaigns are just 10-20% effective – leaving millions of people at risk from fire or electrocution."
Since the conference, the ESC has been liaising with industry, UK and EU government, as well as various NGOs and trade bodies, to establish a database where consumers could register their purchase - ensuring products can be easily traced and recalls targeted more effectively.
"Our research has shown that people would be more likely to register products with an independent body, such as the ESC, as they would be assured their details would be used only to recall products," adds Martyn.
"At the moment, only 5-10% of consumers complete registration cards for new items because they fear their information will be used for marketing purposes. But to create a centralised database we need industry backing and this is bound to be an important part of the round table discussion." Further details at www.esc.org.uk.
LED manufacturers can take advantage of the most advanced low power multi-function tester available, which provides power measurement of less than 1000VA with a resolution of 200mVA.
The Clare HAL LED from Seaward delivers better resolution at low power to offer greater control of the output of products under test, ensuring improved accuracy and quality control standards during manufacturing.
Using the HAL LED, manufacturers can complete end of line tests with the additional benefit of full functionality testing of the operation of the equipment. It also enables users to meet the safety compliance requirements for the majority of standards including BS EN 60598 which covers the safety of lighting equipment such as lamp holders, lights and fluorescent lights.
The HAL LED combines the performance of a multi-function production line safety tester with load and power factor measurement for product energy consumption and ratings assessments. The tester can be fully integrated into automated manufacturing systems with selectable sensors and enclosure interlocks, or by ultimate control using remote PCs and PLCs.
Improved resolution at lower power allows a manufacturer to ensure that the quality control aspect of a functional test is within acceptable limits and the product is shipped with the knowledge that it is as efficient as expected.
More details here.
Counterfeit electronic components continue to represent a significant problem. In response, anti counterfeiting legislation is moving towards personal, rather than corporate, liability. This means that anyone who purchases or specifies electronic components - particularly if you are in the military supply chain - should make sure that they are up to date with the latest developments.
Reports of the use of counterfeit parts quadrupled from 2009 to 2011, infiltrating even the most secure supply chains. Last year, the Anti-Counterfeiting Forum website received an average of 30 reports per week.
It has long been believed that obsolete components represent the biggest problem, but a recent study by an SAE committee found 46% of incidents related to currently available devices.
Looking to discuss the problem, the Electronic Systems Community (ESCO) is hosting a seminar designed specifically to advise how to avoid counterfeit components entering the UK electrical and electronics supply chain.
The seminar, taking place at London's 1VS Conference Centre on 27 February 2014, is the latest in a series of events aimed at raising awareness of this issue. Attendees will receive updates on the work being undertaken to combat the threat, along with a broad insight into the problem, advice on how to access current information and support to reduce the risk to their organisations.
Travis Perkins, the UK's largest supplier to the building and construction market, is using advanced electrical safety testing technology as part of its commitment to health and safety.
The company has equipped 140 of its branches with B255 testers from Clare for advanced electrical safety testing technology as part of its commitment to health and safety.
This enables the full suite of electrical safety tests to be carried out: earth/ground bond and hipot/flash testing alongside load, run and leakage testing. It is used as part of a process that ensures that all hire fleet electrical equipment are routinely serviced, tested and recorded before being made available for hire.
Test results are entered into a custom database to provide computerised records and service schedules ensuring that the correct functionality and safe operation of equipment is maintained at all times.
Shaun Farrow, workshop trainer for Travis Perkins, said the B255 is the ideal electrical safety tester, adding that it is extremely easy-to-use, providing accurate and reliable workshop testing. More at, www.clare.co.uk/hire.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that a Leeds firm has been fined for safety failings after a trainee technician needed skin grafts after receiving an electric shock while using unsafe testing equipment.
A 22-year-old Bradford man spent five days in hospital with injuries to his arms and chest after the incident. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted Wilson Power Solutions after finding a series of safety failures both in the equipment being used or provided, and in the working practices at the firm.
The court was told the trainee was testing a transformer but the test equipment had exposed conductors at 415 volts. When he touched a connector he received an electric shock. HSE found equipment at a safer low voltage could have been used but it was broken.
HSE also identified he had been working inside a test enclosure where the interlocking mechanism had been defeated so power was not cut off when he entered. In addition emergency stop buttons were broken and unusable
HSE served an enforcement notice on Wilson Power requiring improvements to be made to its safety measures and procedures. The company was fined £6,500, with £647 in costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the case, HSE Inspector Julian Franklin said: "This young trainee was given unsafe, inappropriate and poorly maintained equipment to test an electrical transformer with no training or supervision. The firm failed to ensure that risks from a known hazard were controlled and allowed equipment to fall into disrepair, resulting in a potentially life-threatening incident." More details at: www.press.hse.gov.uk
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