PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 22
24th April 2013
This issue covers:
- PlugSafe highlights electrical safety concerns
- Clarification on PAT labelling
- New advice on electrical safety management
- Electrical fault kills family pets
- Apollo lift off at Safety and Health Expo 2013
- Electrical contractors more optimistic
- Free Seminars Explain New IET Code of Practice
A special electrical safety initiative highlights threats to consumer safety through the availability of counterfeit and unsafe electrical plugs and sockets in the UK.
The PlugSafe information portal is run by a voluntary group of professional electrical engineers that is working with other bodies to oppose the threats to safety posed by faulty electrical goods, illegal counterfeits and loopholes in standards.
The group was formed in response to fears that consumer safety was being compromised. Of particular concern is the number of web retailers who advertise counterfeit plugs which, although being fraudulently marked “BS 1363”, are not compliant.
Among the dangers highlighted on the PlugSafe website are counterfeit fuses, plugs with a partially sleeved earth pin, problems with colour coding of wires, faulty mouldings and poor plug assemblies.
For full details or to give your views visit www.bs1363.org.uk
One of the most discussed areas of the new fourth edition of the IET Code of Practice is its revised guidance on appliance labelling.
The Code now recommends that the date for re-testing should not be marked on the pass label usually attached to appliances after testing. This is a pretty clear statement and aims to stop contractors automatically determining the retest period when the label is applied immediately after inspection and testing.
Nevertheless, in some discussion groups this appears to have triggered considerable debate and some confusion. However this advice needs to be seen in the wider context of the overall theme of the new guidance, which is to clarify the role of duty holders and to emphasise the importance of risk assessment.
The advice from IET and HSE has always been that any test and inspection regime should be based on risk, the reality is that in many cases this has not been the case and the suggested initial test frequencies in the Code of Practice have become standard and have been applied regardless of risk.
Although the new Code says duty holders can take advice from the person doing the inspection and testing, it is they who have the legal responsibility to ensure that the electrical equipment in their charge is safe and it is their responsibility to decide whether or not to vary the inspection and test frequencies.
This is clearly the motive behind the new guidance on labelling. It is of course a significant change to existing practices and without a visual reminder of any next test due dates there is likely to be increased reliance on the effective use of electrical equipment inspection and test records, with the Code also recommending that (previous) test results should be made available to subsequent test operatives. In addition, rather than relying on pre-determined re-test dates, there will also be increased emphasis on the effective visual inspection of appliances.
For full details visit www.apollo600.seaward.co.uk/blog/
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has announced that it is working on a new Code of Practice for Electrical Safety Management.
The IET says that there are currently numerous technical publications on specific aspects of electrical safety, but at present, no single authoritative source on good practice for managing electrical safety in organisations.
The new Code of Practice will provide a high level understanding of what managing electrical safety entails and includes an innovative practical self-assessment process built on recognised health and safety management principles. It is expected to be published in the summer of 2013.
Director of IET Standards Carolyn White said “Electrical safety management in organisations is often the responsibility of non-electrically-qualified staff. This new Code of Practice will give them the confidence to implement a number of good practice activities related to their workplace to manage the range of risks associated with the electrical system – and minimise the risk of serious injury or death caused by electrical incidents.
The publication is designed for anyone responsible for electrical safety including electrical engineers, factory managers, facilities managers, risk managers, health and safety officers and others who may not have had systematic training in how to prevent electrical hazards in the workplace.
More details at www.theiet.org
National news reports highlighted a kitchen fire that killed two family dogs which is understood to have been started by an electrical fault in a dishwasher.
The fire happened at a family home in Llanfyllin, Powys, while the owners were out and came after dishwasher manufacturer Bosch recalled 632,000 dishwashers because of a potential overheating issue in the control panel.
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said it had attended three fires involving Bosch dishwashers in recent months.
Back in 2011, Bosch announced the recall of models that were manufactured between 1999 and 2005 and have batch numbers between FD7901 through to FD8504. Those who do not have a number between this range are not affected.
Bosch said it has made every attempt to contact owners of the affected model to rectify the problem and has managed to locate 163,000 of them to date.
Put a date in your diary to visit Hall 1 Stand H4 at the Safety and Health Expo 2013 in May to see Seaward’s latest electrical tester that establishes a brand new approach to portable appliance testing and maintaining workplace safety.
Designed in line with the 4th Edition of the IET Code of Practice, the multipurpose Apollo 600 portable appliance tester includes a host of special features to assist the user and ensure a proportionate response to the inspection and testing of electrical equipment in line with the latest guidance.
Uniquely, the innovative Apollo 600 is equipped with onboard risk assessment tools and an integral digital camera to ensure risk assessments are carried out correctly and that results are stored against sites, locations and assets along with visual evidence if required.
The new tester includes all of the electrical safety tests required by the IET Code of Practice including, earth continuity, insulation resistance at 250V or 500V, protective conductor current, touch current, IEC lead polarity and portable RCD trip time, without the risk of tripping the installation RCD.
In addition to testing plug in appliances, the Apollo 600 is also fully equipped to test fixed equipment as required by the new Code of Practice.
For broader workplace safety tasks, the new instrument also provides a simple and effective means of compiling complete reports for many other workplace inspections and testing requirements including fire alarm and detection systems
A market study says that electrical contractors are more optimistic about their business prospects for the coming months.
The research by Schneider highlighted that while three quarters believed the recession has had an impact on their business, almost two thirds (62%) are optimistic for 2013.
Energy efficiency appears to be one of the main drivers of the new optimism, with just under half of all customers (43%) requesting energy saving devices in the specification stage while a third were looking for more efficient lighting solutions.
However, the research wasn’t all positive as contractors identified late payments from customers as having the biggest effect on their business in 2012. A further quarter also highlighted pricing as being more competitive and margins thinner than ever before.
If you haven’t already, come and join us at one of our free breakfast seminars on the new fourth edition of the IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.
New dates and venues added for the months ahead. For more details, or to book a place, go to www.seaward.co.uk/seminars
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