PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 30
30th January 2014
This issue covers:
- Electrical safety call for rented properties
- PAT software sets new standards in test data management
- Top 5 most dangerous appliances
- Apollo 600 meets formal PAT visual inspection needs
Eastleigh MP, Mike Thornton, has called for more to be done to protect tenants living in private rented accommodation.
In a Westminster Hall debate before Christmas he urged the Government to change the law to make it a legal requirement for landlords to provide electrical safety certificates in the same way they have to provide gas safety certificates. During the debate, Mr Thornton told the Government that the current law is inadequate when trying to prevent deaths and fires.
The private rented sector is a major and growing part of England’s housing market, with 3.8 million households living in private rented accommodation.
Under current regulations, landlords do not have to certify the safety of the electrics in privately rented properties, or prove when the electrics were last tested, unless they are registered Houses of Multiple Occupation. In comparison, landlords are required to certify that gas installations and products are safe every year.
Mike Thornton, MP said: “With more and more people now renting their homes, it’s more important than ever that tenants can live safe in the knowledge that the electrics in their home have been tested and certified”.
“The Government must realise that the current laws are just not up to scratch. Electrical safety certificates should be mandatory in the same way Gas Safety Certificates are. Poor electrics in the home can lead to preventable tragedies, with many tenants unaware of any problem until it is too late.”
The head of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) supported calls for electrical checks in the private rented sector (PRS) to become compulsory. Chairman Alan Ward said: "It is illogical that gas checks are required annually but electrical safety checks are applied only to a part of the market."
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 and tag them 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 across different buildings and sites, with the capability to identify assets that are 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 and a video that demonstrates the benefits of the software is available at www.seaward.co.uk/pg3.
An interesting story has come to our attention that highlights the dangers associated with domestic appliances – and since many of these can also be found in the workplace, we thought it worthwhile to highlight it here.
Published online at http://money.aol.co.uk/, the article reports that around 70 people are killed every year, and 350,000 people are injured, as a result of fires caused by an electrical appliance.
These situations can be caused by faulty models or by misuse of the appliance, but in 2012 alone almost 8,000 fires were the result of faults.
In order of danger, ovens and microwaves were regarded as the number one risk, followed by wiring and plugs, washing machines, lighting and dishwashers.
The article says that faulty wiring and plugs were responsible for 3,899 fires in 2012, causing 223 injuries and ten deaths. Particularly highlighted was the dangers caused by overloading sockets.
It says that, with more gadgets than ever in the home, often the minimum number of power outlets that are included as standard are not enough, so we overload each socket with adapters and extension cables.
An interesting message for all involved in PAT; if this is true in the home environment, then it must be the same in the workplace?
Seaward’s most advanced electrical safety tester establishes a brand new approach to portable appliance testing by combining effective formal visual inspection with all required electrical testing functions.
In line with the latest HSE guidance on maintaining electrical equipment, the Apollo 600 is specially equipped with a unique range of features to ensure that proportionate actions are taken on the inspection and testing of workplace electrical appliances.
As well as an onboard risk assessment tool to help determine re-test intervals, the new multi-purpose PAT tester incorporates a built-in digital camera to enable high quality images to be tagged against appliance records for completely traceable electrical safety record keeping and maintenance.
Alongside this unique visual inspection feature, the Apollo 600 also 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 is fully equipped to test permanently connected and 3 phase electrical equipment.
For broader safety requirements, the new concept tester can record a wide range of other health and safety inspections and tests, including fire detection and emergency lighting checks, and also has the ability to output a wide range of safety labels, test reports and certificates.
The Apollo 600 is complemented by the upgraded PATGuard 3 test results management software. As well as a universal risk assessment tool to determine the corrective actions for any workplace hazard, this intuitive software enables comprehensive PAT records to be established alongside asset management registers and full inspection and test reports with photographs as evidence.
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