PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 23
30th May 2013
This issue covers:
- HSE fine for electrical safety breach
- C&G PAT courses
- Domestic appliance product recalls
- Appliance safety and fire risks
- New PAT networking site
- Your free ticket to visit us at the NAPIT Expo 2013 - UK
- Free PAT Seminars Explore New IET Code of Practice
A Hertfordshire tool supply company has been told to pay £27,000 for endangering workers after neglecting to maintain electrical systems and equipment.
Watford Magistrates’ Court heard that tools including power hammers and grinding machines, as well as fixed electrical systems, were so poorly maintained that they presented immediate and potentially fatal risks to employees.
The failings were identified by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) during an inspection on 19 November 2009. HSE served four Improvement Notices on the company, including one to improve management arrangements, over an 18 month period.
However, despite two extensions being granted to comply with the terms of the notices, subsequent investigations in 12 Nov 2010 and 7 April 2011 found there were still insufficient arrangements to properly manage risks.
The company was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs after admitting a breach of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and for ignoring the management improvement notice.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Peter Burns said: "It is important that companies recognise and acknowledge the risks posed by poorly maintained electrical systems, which could ultimately result in death – as was the real danger here. The best way to ensure that these and other risks are controlled is to have effective management systems in place.”
More at www.hse.gov.uk
Seaward Group has introduced new City and Guilds approved training courses covering all the practical and management issues associated with portable appliance testing (PAT) in the workplace.
The courses are designed to equip individuals with all the knowledge required to carry out portable appliance testing professionally, correctly and safely in accordance with best practice.
The course includes an understanding of the requirements of the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR) and the latest IEE Code of Practice. The two day City and Guilds 2377-22 In-service Inspection and Testing course is designed to help with the practical disciplines of electrical appliance safety testing.
The one day City and Guilds 2377-32 Management Requirements for the Maintenance of Electrical Equipment is aimed at those with administrative responsibilities for the safety and maintenance of electrical equipment.
The course content includes preparation for the online City and Guilds 2377 exams and special Seaward certification is provided for those participants who do not require formal qualifications.
Both City and Guilds 2377 courses can be completed at the same time as a combined two day full PAT testing course or can be taken separately.
For those with little or no electrical knowledge, a special one day foundation course can be taken in advance of the formal City and Guilds training courses.
Training is being held at various locations across the UK and can also be provided at Seaward’s facilities in County Durham or at a company’s own premises.
For further details visit www.seaward.co.uk/training/ or call 0191 587 4954.
Two leading white goods manufacturers have announced product recalls for two types of domestic appliances.
Hotpoint is recalling some dishwashers because a component may overheat and catch fire. Hotpoint says that there have not been any injuries caused by these dishwashers but they have caused damage to customers' property. Hotpoint has not said which component it is that overheats and catches fire but they have said that it would only occur while the machine is in use.
Serial numbers of the first five digits of affected appliances are between S/N 60601 and S/N 70331, although if recently serviced, those appliances with a green sticker on the inside of the door have already been repaired.
Hoover has also announced a product recall for its Frost Free refrigeration appliances that were produced between week 34 2011 and week 34 2012.
The company has identified a potential problem in a batch of appliances manufactured between the dates above that there is a possibility of a potential fault developing on the defrost heater element supplied to Hoover. Overheating can occur and in certain circumstances this could result in a fire.
Further details on both of these produce recalls are provided at www.esc.org.uk.
In terms of preventing danger, it is often overlooked that formal electrical appliance inspection and testing programmes also play an important role in avoiding workplace fires that would otherwise be devastating for those involved.
To highlight this threat, successive annual UK fire statistics show that faulty appliances and leads continue to pose the single most common cause of accidental fires in ‘other buildings’ (non dwellings). For example, some salient UK facts and figures include:
• In 2011/12, faulty appliances and leads were the cause of 4,000 accidental fires in commercial, business and public (non-residential) buildings.
• In 2011/12 faulty appliances and leads were the cause of around 24% of all accidental fires in non-residential buildings
• Between 2001 and 2012 (excl. 2010 for which no breakdown is available), each year faulty appliances and leads were identified as the cause of between 25% and 32% of accidental fires in non dwellings.
• After faulty appliances and leads (and apart from accidental causes), the next most common cause of accidental fires in public and commercial premises is the misuse of equipment and appliances.
• According to statistics collated by the Fire Protection Association (FPA), between 2000 and 2005, in 346 reported fires that were electrical in origin in business premises, the reported losses totalled over £178m, with an average loss per incident of over £51,000.
In the updated IET Code of Practice, there is new emphasises on the importance of robust risk assessment and the importance of taking a proportionate response to preventative actions.
These figures make it abundantly clear that faulty appliances are a major cause of workplace fires and adequate measures need to be taken to prevent or mitigate the risk that damaged or unsafe appliances present.
Leave your comments and views at http://apollo600.seaward.co.uk/blog/.
A new website has been set up for users of the Facebook Group PAT Testing Network.
The new site is designed to provide a forum for professionals in the PAT Testing industry to ‘hang out’, exchange information and share daily stories with colleagues.
The site includes a members’ directory and enables PAT specialists the opportunity to pass on work between companies around the country.
The new site is available at www.pattestnetwork.co.uk/.
Seaward will be exhibiting at NAPIT´s regional trade show the NAPIT Expo, on the 6th June 2013 at the Copthorne Hotel, Gatwick.
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 constantly added for the months ahead.
For more details or to book a place go to www.seaward.co.uk/seminars.
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