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PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 12

This issue covers:

New HSE PAT guidance

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently launched revised guidance on maintaining portable appliances in low risk environments. The revised advice has been made in response to the earlier Löfstedt report published on health and safety legislation which said that the legal requirements concerning the maintenance of electrical appliances was applied ‘too widely and disproportionately’.

There are no fundamental changes in the new guidance other than an extension of some of the periods between tests. In its updated announcement the HSE is advising against testing too often, explaining that, for some businesses, there may be little need to test all their equipment every year – but testing at various intervals is still advisable, depending on the type of equipment.

The latest HSE announcement makes another important contribution to maintaining electrical safety in the workplace, but it should also continue to be viewed alongside all the other advice, guidance and pertinent information available on this matter.

For more clarification on the latest HSE announcement view the Revised PAT Guidance From HSE article.

HSE penalises electrical safety failure

A coating and treatment company in Swavesey, Cambridgeshire has been fined for safety failings after an employee suffered an electric shock.

A machine operator at the firm received an electric shock whilst checking new cables on a hardening machine that had recently been maintained, sustaining open wounds to his forearm and left palm and burns to his left arm and knee.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to impose adequate safe working procedures relating to the operation, use and maintenance of an electrical system and work near an electrical system. The company was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £5,382.70 in costs.

HSE Inspector Alison Ashworth, said: "Work with or near electricity is dangerous. This incident could have been prevented if the company had identified the risk and acted to control it. They could have prevented access to the live parts of the cables, insulated them or ensured that stored electrical energy had been discharged. The HSE will not hesitate to take action where there is the risk of serious harm to people at work."

More details at

Appliance fire warning 

Local firefighters have again highlighted the fire risk associated with electrical equipment. In Gravesend, Fire and Rescue Services issued an urgent safety warning about electrical equipment following a house fire, after a blaze in a second floor bedroom caused extensive damage.

The fire is believed to have started in a damaged, old fashioned extension lead that had been left on. It began smouldering and started a slow burning fire in the carpet, totally destroying the bedroom.

The local fire service warned: “Many accidental fires, like this one, begin with an electrical appliance, so it’s really important that you make sure all your electrical appliances are in good working order and not used if they are damaged in any way.”

New ESC safety app

A ‘Safe Isolation’ app has been unveiled by leading safety charity the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) to tackle the dangerous practice of working on live electrical systems.

The ESC has based the Safe Isolation app on its Best Practice Guide No 2 (Guidance on the management of electrical safety and safe isolation procedures for low voltage isolation). It is designed to be as easy to use as possible, taking a step-by-step approach to achieving safe isolation with a series of illustrations and simple instructions.

The app is available on iPhone and iPad and allows electrical engineers and electricians to access this important information while they are working and keep themselves and others safe.

The app can be found at the App Store by searching for ‘safe isolation’ and then following the download instructions.

For more information visit the ESC’s website

ESC evaluates safety of kitchen appliances

As part of the Electrical Safety Council’s continued analysis of the EU injury database and research into electrical risk categorisation, recent work has been undertaken to evaluate the safety and compliance of kitchen appliances with safety standards.

The European safety standard for toasters and similar portable cooking appliances, EN60335-2-9 has been amended twice since 2008. Against these changes, the ESC commissioned independent inspection and testing of 11 kitchen appliances. These included toasters, mini and microwave ovens, a deep fat fryer and a portable washing machine.

The ESC’s investigation revealed that only one of the 11 products tested passed the test programme. Over half the appliances failed to meet the requirements of the relevant product standard.

Problems and observations found included hazardous surface temperatures, inadequate protection against accidental contact with basic insulation in a class II construction, poor internal wiring construction, incorrect CE-marking and incorrect use of fuse ratings. More details at

Seaward is hire industry Supplier of the Year

The Seaward Group has been awarded the ‘Supplier of the Year' title in this year’s Hire Awards of Excellence.

Organised by the HAE, the Hire Awards of Excellence are designed to genuinely recognise excellence throughout the Hire Industry. Although all awards are independently judged, the Supplier of the Year award won by Seaward was determined by customer votes.

The Seaward Group is a long established supplier of electrical safety testing instrumentation to the hire sector through both its Seaward PAT range and its Clare specialist tool and hire equipment testers.

Alongside the development of advanced technology electrical safety testers, Seaward has also been actively involved in a wide range of training, educational and information campaigns to help hire and rental companies continue to meet their obligations to ensure that that the equipment they supply to their customers is electrically safe.

According to the HAE, the Hire Awards of Excellence are designed to genuinely recognise excellence throughout the hire industry. Acknowledging the successes of the hirers and suppliers as well as those successful individuals who truly set the standard, the awards are the industry's most sought after accolade.



















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