PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 25
12th August 2013
This issue covers:
- National exposure of dangerous electrical appliances
- NEW PATGuard 3 – download your free trial today
- All you need to know about fuses
- September C&G PAT courses
- HSE safety alert on blower fans
- Mandatory landlord safety checks welcomed
- Heatwave brings electrical safety danger
- Electrocution danger from counterfeit phone chargers
- Get connected with Seaward
Over recent weeks there has been considerable national media coverage of the dangers associated with unsafe electrical appliances.
Newspapers, including the Daily Mirror and the Daily Telegraph, devoted significant column inches and online space with a story on problems linked to failures in the product recall system. This failure, it was reported, meant that appliance manufacturers had failed to trace more than one million ‘potentially lethal appliances’ since 2011.
The coverage culminated in a hard hitting national TV programme, ‘How Safe Is Your Kitchen?’ that looked at some tragic individual cases involving faulty electrical appliances.
Admittedly the cases highlighted involved the use of appliances in domestic residential properties – but with the problem said to involve 1.5-2million electrical goods, including cookers, ovens, fridges and washing machines, it seems inevitable that some of these could be being used in workplaces, hotels, pubs, restaurants, private rented accommodation and similar premises.
The reports claimed that 80% of the reasons for appliance product recalls were potentially fatal, with risks of fire, electrocution or carbon monoxide poisoning.
We're very excited to announce that the much anticipated PATGuard 3 health and safety PAT testing software is now available for you to download.
The new specially designed software from Seaward features:
• Electrical risk assessment and retest period generator
• Tag photos to sites, locations, asset IDs and test results
• Receive regular software updates and new features automatically
• Record risk assessments for any workplace hazard
• Health and safety inspection reports
• Download compatible with a range of PAT testers
• Windows 8 compatible
• Free software support included
To download your free trial, buy now or for more information click here.
Pro Fuse International, the association of leading companies involved in the design and manufacture of fuses and fuse-based equipment, has re-launched its website.
The new, revised site, www.profuseinternational.com, will play an important part in achieving the associations’ aims, namely to inform, educate and provide guidance as to the vital role played by the fuse as the leading method of protecting electrical circuits, equipment and installations.
The association is keen to engage more widely with those involved in the electrical industry, and sees the new on-line presence as the primary source of technical and educational information for fuse technology and its application.
The new look site, which features the new Pro Fuse logo, has been designed to be easier to use, to be more informative and to encourage dialogue between industry professionals. Four key themes are addressed as part of the overall message of ‘make a smart choice for your electrical protection’; ensuring the safety of users; guaranteeing the reliability of the installation; fuses as an eco-friendly solution; and the cost savings inherent in choosing fuses as the primary means of electrical protection.
Divided into a number of easily navigable sections, visitors will be able to source technical articles, videos and presentations as well as keep up to date with forthcoming exhibitions and conferences on fuse technology.
Electrical safety testing specialist the 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 IET 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. It is specifically designed for those with little or limited electrical or PAT experience and will be held in Peterlee, County Durham on 16th & 17th September 2013.
For more experienced operators, another two day City & Guilds 2377 course looks at PAT issues from everything from a basic electrical understanding of PAT testing to the new IET Code of Practice for in-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment. This will also be held at Peterlee, County Durham on 18th & 19th September 2013.
In both cases, the course content includes preparation for the online City and Guilds 2377 exams.
For full details visit www.seaward.co.uk/training or call 0191 587 4954.
After becoming aware of an electrical safety issue with a particular design of fan blower that has been imported into the UK by a number of suppliers, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have issued an industry safety alert.
The alert concerns the type of fan blower typically used to inflate play equipment (small bouncy castles) and advertising inflatables. The type of fan design affected is one where the electrical socket is fitted to the front of the casing, below the blower outlet (i.e. not on a cable lead) and you can see the rear of the electrical socket & conductors.
During testing of one of these units, it was found that despite the manufacturer's plate stating the unit complied with the required standards, the connection did not stop water getting onto live contacts. This means anyone touching metal parts of the unit could get a potentially lethal 230v shock.
Owners/operators of electrical fans have legal duties to ensure these are safe and are strongly advised to bring this Alert to the attention of their competent examiner who should check that the fans comply with all the necessary standards. If the examiner finds this is not the case owners/operators should stop using the fans until they do comply and contact the supplier ASAP.
Full details at: www.hse.gov.uk.
The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has welcomed the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee’s recommendation that private sector landlords be required to undertake a mandatory five-yearly check of electrical installations in their properties.
The recommendation is detailed in the recent CLG Select Committee report into England’s private rented sector (PRS). It calls on government to introduce a requirement for a competent person to comprehensively review installations every five years, with a visual check being undertaken on change of tenancy. To achieve this, it asks government to liaise with the electrical industry to establish suitable certification.
“We are delighted that the Committee has made this recommendation”, comments Phil Buckle, Director General of the ESC. “We have, for some time now, been lobbying hard for such mandatory regulation in the PRS. The Government’s own data shows that 21% of England’s PRS contains category 1 hazards - the most dangerous risk to health and safety under the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System.
“Independent research suggests that PRS tenants are more likely to be at risk of electric shock than owner-occupiers, or those in social housing. Government statistics also show that over half of all accidental fires in GB homes (more than 20,000 annually) are caused by electricity.”
For more information, visit: www.esc.org.uk.
A loft fire attended by fire and rescue crews in the Newbury area prompted a local electrical safety warning.
A local newspaper reported that fire crews were called to deal with a blaze in a loft space among dry house timbers of a house in Round End, Wash Common.
The cause of the fire was put down to a light fitting that was left on after building work had been carried out in the loft. With roof joists registering temperatures approaching 30°C in the recent hot weather, the fire prompted the local fire chief to issue a warning about the dangers of any electrical items, or appliances used or stored in lofts being switched on for long periods - and specifically that all equipment should be safety checked and switched off after use.
Full story at: www.newburytoday.co.uk.
Apple has unveiled a worldwide programme to replace third-party and counterfeit USB power adaptors at a cheaper price. The decision comes after a Chinese woman was reportedly electrocuted while answering her phone as it was being charged with a non-Apple device.
In a statement, Apple said: “Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third-party adaptors may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues.
“While not all third-party adaptors have an issue, we are announcing a USB Power Adaptor Takeback Programme to enable customers to acquire properly designed adaptors. Customer safety is a top priority at Apple.”
The announcement was welcomed by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) which has previously issued warnings about the dangers of cheap USB chargers.
ESC Director General, Phil Buckle, said: “Whilst everyone loves a bargain, if a cheap electrical product turns out to be fake then it is, at best, a waste of money. At worst, it could result in the death of a loved one.”
'This is worrying as faulty electrical goods are a leading cause of severe electric shock in the UK and cause thousands of house fires each year.'
The Apple initiative will take place at stores and participating authorised service providers from August 16 to October 18.
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