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PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 31
27th February 2014

 

This issue covers:

Unsafe test equipment leads to HSE fine


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that a Leeds firm has been fined for safety failings after a trainee technician needed skin grafts after receiving an electric shock while using unsafe testing equipment.

A 22-year-old Bradford man spent five days in hospital with injuries to his arms and chest after the incident. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted Wilson Power Solutions after finding a series of safety failures both in the equipment being used or provided, and in the working practices at the firm.

The court was told the trainee was testing a transformer but the test equipment had exposed conductors at 415 volts. When he touched a connector he received an electric shock. HSE found equipment at a safer low voltage could have been used but it was broken. HSE also identified he had been working inside a test enclosure where the interlocking mechanism had been defeated so power was not cut off when he entered. In addition emergency stop buttons were broken and unusable.

HSE served an enforcement notice on Wilson Power requiring improvements to be made to its safety measures and procedures. The company was fined £6,500, with £647 in costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the case, HSE Inspector Julian Franklin said: "This young trainee was given unsafe, inappropriate and poorly maintained equipment to test an electrical transformer with no training or supervision. The firm failed to ensure that risks from a known hazard were controlled and allowed equipment to fall into disrepair, resulting in a potentially life-threatening incident." More details at: www.press.hse.gov.uk


Seaward at Elex Exhibition 2014, Harrogate


Seaward will be exhibiting at the Elex Show on the 6-7th March at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate.

Visit us on stand R28 and get hands-on with the Seaward PAT range including the new Apollo 600 PAT tester with built in camera and the Apollo 500 'plug and play' tester.

Full details will also be available on the special added value, low price Seaward 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 installation tester, plus a free QuickCheck verification key ring and a calibration certificate, worth £100.

For more details visit www.seaward.co.uk/events/elex-exhibition-2014-harrogate-uk


ESC Round table on product safety


A round table follow-up to the Electrical Safety Council's (ESC) highly successful Product Safety Conference will take place on 5th March in Church House, Westminster.

The event will bring together senior industry figures to progress the key issues emerging from last year's conference.

"Our Product Safety Conference was very well-received and gained significant coverage in both trade and consumer media", explains Martyn Allen, Head of the ESC's Technical Unit.

"However, the primary focus - for both the conference and the forthcoming round-table – is recalls and traceability. In recent years, high profile product recalls have seriously impacted on both corporate reputations and consumer safety. Currently, product recall campaigns are just 10-20% effective – leaving millions of people at risk from fire or electrocution."

Since the conference, the ESC has been liaising with industry, UK and EU government, as well as various NGOs and trade bodies, to establish a database where consumers could register their purchase - ensuring products can be easily traced and recalls targeted more effectively.

"Our research has shown that people would be more likely to register products with an independent body, such as the ESC, as they would be assured their details would be used only to recall products," adds Martyn.

"At the moment, only 5-10% of consumers complete registration cards for new items because they fear their information will be used for marketing purposes. But to create a centralised database we need industry backing and this is bound to be an important part of the round table discussion." Further details at www.esc.org.uk.


PAT tester meets formal visual inspection needs


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, the new 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.

The Apollo 600 upgrades the test capabilities of the Seaward PrimeTest 350. 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 and in addition to testing plug in appliances, the Apollo 600 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. More details at apollo600.seaward.co.uk.


Talks on joint electrical competency mark


Napit and Certsure, who operate the Elecsa and NICEIC trade competency brands respectively, recently took the next step in providing a joint approach to single point of reference for consumers seeking an electrician.

The organisation will create a single and easily identifiable mark for full scope Part P registered electricians, easily recognisable by consumers and supported by a single register.

12 months ago Certsure and Napit created separate registers to promote the use of competent, registered electricians to consumers. The intention of both organisations was to help simplify the market and raise public awareness about the dangers of sub-standard electrical repairs and installations.

Although the registers attracted significant interest from consumers, the organisations felt this may prove a distraction from issues like safety and quality. In order to overcome this Napit and Certsure met in the autumn to discuss a new way forward for promoting the use of competent, registered domestic electricians to consumers.

The proposal has been discussed with all full scope electrical Competent Person Scheme Operators, who are in principle happy with the plans. More at www.napit.org.uk


Unsafe electrics put landlord couple in court


A local newspaper report has highlighted the case of a couple who rented out their property in a "dangerous" condition in London's East End being fined £14,400.

The five-storey terraced house in Bow Road, Bow, occupied by several tenants, did not comply with security, fire and electrical safety laws.

The landlords were summoned with their property lettings company, SAB Associates, and found guilty by Thames magistrates of offences under the Housing Act. Magistrates heard that they failed to carry out “essential security, fire safety and electrical work” after 21 months which was first brought to their attention in May, 2011, magistrates heard.

Matters were still not properly dealt with when environment officers called again during a follow-up visit more than a year-and-a-half later, when the couple failed to produce an electrician's certificate.

There were still electrical faults, while the fire alarm system and fire doors did not comply with the safety regulations, the court was told.

The Newham Recorder reported that, the summons was a warning shot from the Town Hall that "landlords have a moral duty and legal obligation to make sure homes they rent out are safe."


 

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