PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 29
18th December 2013
This issue covers:
- Don’t let electrical problems ruin your Christmas
- HSE penalises electrical testing safety failure
- Electrical checks to be included in review of private rented premises
- Special test kit celebrates Best of British
- PAT software sets new standards in test data management
- Council fined for electrical safety breach
- NEW dates added - Free Seminars Explain IET 4th Edition Code of Practice
Christmas tree lights are a popular part of festive season decorations – but health and safety organisations have all warned about the dangers posed by faulty fairy lights.
RoSPA, the Fire and Rescue Service and the Electrical Safety Council are among those organisations that have published special advice and tips to ensure that the electrical shock and fire hazards associated with Christmas lights are avoided.
Once a year, these twinkling fairy lights and colourful Christmas illuminations are often retrieved from damp, dusty storage spaces to decorate our homes for the festive season - but, poorly stored, old electrical decorations and overloaded sockets can create unnecessary hazards at this time of year. For full details visit www.fireservice.co.uk, www.rospa.com and www.esc.org.uk
A Tayside electrical company has been fined for safety failings after a worker suffered burns to his face, hands and arms while carrying out live electrical testing.
McGill Electrical Ltd. was involved in testing inside an electrical substation at the premises of a manufacturing company in Dundee.
The worker removed bolted covers to gain access to the live conductors he was there to test. However, on manoeuvring one of the bolted covers back into position after the testing, a corner of the cover appears to have come into contact with live parts causing an electrical arc flashover. The worker was not wearing the correct protective equipment supplied to him and was treated in hospital for burns to his face, hands and arms. He made a full recovery and returned to work two months later.
The HSE investigation concluded that McGill Electrical Ltd had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the task of removing and replacing the bolted covers while the distribution boards were live, and had also failed to have in place a safe system of work by failing to ensure that the electricity supply to the distribution boards was de-energised during removal and replacement of the covers.
McGill Electrical Ltd of Harrison Road, Dundee, was fined £2,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. More at: press.hse.gov.uk
The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has welcomed the latest government announcement on its review of the private rented sector.
The government has agreed to conduct a wide-ranging review to consolidate legislation, with the aim of producing a much simpler and more straightforward set of regulations that landlords and tenants can easily understand. This will include work on housing health and safety rating systems and the introduction of a simpler, more straightforward set of quality standards for housing in the sector.
Now, Baroness Stowell, Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (CLG) has confirmed that the review will also consider the need for regular checks of electrical installations.
Phil Buckle, Director General of the ESC, said: “We are delighted by Baroness Stowell’s statement that CLG will ensure the PRS review considers the introduction of a compulsory system for regularly checking electrical installations. The ESC is committed to raising standards in the sector and has lobbied hard and long for such a requirement.
“Half of all fires in GB homes are caused by electricity and research suggests that private tenants are likely to be at greater risk of fire than residents in other housing sectors. Further research indicates that they also have a higher risk of electric shock than owner-occupiers.
“Given the significant expansion of the PRS in the last decade, the current lack of specific requirements around electrical safety needs to be urgently addressed.”
Seaward has introduced a special added value - low price Best of British kit for 17th Edition electrical installation testing.
For a limited period only, Seaward is highlighting its presence as one of the few UK manufacturers of 17th edition electrical test equipment with a special kit that incorporates the PowerTest 1557 multifunction tester, a limited edition QuickCheck verification key ring and a calibration certificate.
The handheld and lightweight PowerTest 1557 is a compact all in one installation tester that is designed for maximum portability and ease of use. Special features include an integral cordless probe and fast performance, with earth loop, line loop, PFC and PSC tests with one press of a button in under 5 seconds.
Colour coded tests for earth continuity, insulation resistance, loop impedance, line impedance, RCD tests and voltage measurements can be selected easily using a large rotary switch and simple push button control.
A handy pocket-sized QuickCheck verification card key ring is included as part of the special edition kit, and enables users to quickly verify that the PowerTest 1557 is still working within specification for earth continuity and insulation resistance tests.
The Best of British PowerTest 1557 kit is available for £299 for a limited period only. More details at www.seaward.co.uk/bob1557
A special software program has been designed to provide comprehensive and secure electrical test record keeping for all those responsible for maintaining the safety of electrical equipment at work.
Seaward’s new PATGuard 3 is a powerful new test data management program that provides total traceability of safety test results and a risk based approach to maintaining workplace safety.
As well as PAT testing, the new program can also be used for more general workplace safety tasks, including the inspection of emergency lighting fire alarm systems.
Among the special features of the new high performance software is the ability to add images taken with the Apollo 600 or any camera, mobile phone be tagged against sites, locations and asset IDs, enabling easy inclusion in safety reports as a permanent record of visual inspections.
In addition, PATGuard 3 includes a special electrical risk assessment tool, providing a step by step guide to calculating risk scores and automatically determining re-test periods. In this way the new software ensures that electrical test and inspection is carried out in proportionate to the risk posed, as advised in the IET 4th Edition Code of Practice.
Other special features include a simple checkbox asset and hire management system for the tracking of equipment with the capability to identify assets as in service or on hire, and to run status reports on this.
PATGuard 3 is compatible with a wide range of PAT testers, including Seaward’s Apollo 600 and is available in two versions, with the Elite and Elements packages having different levels of functionality to meet both automatic data downloading and manual entry of test results. In the Elite program, asset lists can be uploaded back into compatible testers to allow quick and easy re-testing.
A free trial of the new PATGuard 3 software is available for download at www.seaward.co.uk/PG3trial
Newport City Council has appeared in court after a young boy had his finger amputated after suffering an electric shock at a skate park in the city.
The 13 year old accident victim was with friends and was in the process of turning on some floodlights at the park and received the electric shock as his finger touched the switch. He was unaware that the electrical unit had previously been vandalised making it unsafe and causing severe injuries to his hand.
Cwmbran Magistrates' Court heard that the door to the electrical cabinet had been broken into and vandalised leaving the 240v electrical parts exposed to members of the public. A park ranger had noticed the damaged cabinet but no action had been taken to make the area safe since he reported it.
The court was also informed that the Council had failed in their duty to carry out an adequate risk assessment of the dangers associated with electricity at the park. If so they could have implemented electrical safety measures like reinforcing the door to the cabinet, or installing a residual-current device (RCD). It was also revealed that there wasn't enough supervision at the park and that the electrical cabinet should have had warning signs to prevent access to it.
HSE Inspector Joanne Carter commented after the hearing: "It is disappointing that the health and safety management by the Council didn't address the risks that manifested. They failed to put in systems to control the risk, did not communicate the risks to employees and did not inspect the cabinet. Nor did they improve the mechanical protection of the cabinet or mark it as being an electrical danger."
The Council pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £5,000 in addition to prosecution costs of £9,477.
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.
Join us at one of the following locations:
22nd January 2014 - Oxford
29th January 2014 – Poole
12th February 2014 – Stoke
26th February 2014 – Portsmouth
12th March 2014 - Taunton
For more details, or to book a place, go to www.seaward.co.uk/seminars
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