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PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 14

This issue covers:

IET Code to be revised

Following the Health and Safety Executive’s recent update of its guidance on maintaining portable appliances in low risk environments, changes are also planned to the IETs Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.

The IET says that the existing 3rd edition will be revised to better reflect the industry and consumer requirements for the safety of electrical equipment and appliances. The main drivers for these changes have been the increased requirement for guidance from more diverse business types and a more focused approach to risk based assessment of the frequency of inspections and tests.

It says that the former will be addressed with a much broader and less restrictive scope, which currently alienates or fails to include the many new and diverse businesses that are becoming more prevalent in today’s society, particularly those enterprises which deal with previously-owned goods, through either outlet shops or online selling.

The change in scope will also address the issue of hired equipment, which may form part of a long-term contract, which would not normally be included in the current scope or which is unclear on what was required.

For more details, click here.

New ESC App for parents

Nesting’ parents are putting their families’ lives at risk when preparing the home for children through a misplaced reliance on socket covers and a worrying lack of other electrical safety protection, a study from the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has found.

The study found that electrical safety is of paramount concern to parents. Of all child safety measures taken by parents, socket covers are the most common with 62% of parents using them, more than baby monitors or stair barriers. However, regular sockets are generally safe and socket covers will not prevent electric shock if the installation is not safe.

The ESC says that the only way to be safe from a fatal electric shock and reduce the risk of fire is to ensure the installation is safe and that there is an RCD in the fusebox. Worryingly, only 38% of new parents’ homes are adequately protected by this vital device, well below the national average for homes with RCD protection (50%).

Phil Buckle, Director General of the Electrical Safety Council, said: “We have found that new parents have a worrying lack of knowledge about electrical safety issues. We aim to raise awareness of the hazards in the home and the simple steps that parents can take to both ensure the safety of their family and pass on this knowledge to their children as they grow up.

“We are also appealing to product manufacturers and parenting advice outlets to offer parents key electrical safety advice, instead of offering socket covers as a ‘one stop’ solution.”

The ESC is also encouraging parents to download its free ‘Home Electrical Safety Check’ app, which allows anyone to do a quick, visual check of their home to ensure it is electrically safe. Designed to be as easy to use as possible, the app highlights potential dangers in each room and explains how to resolve simple, non-technical problems. More information at www.esc.org.uk.

Effective electrical testing at Airbus site

Versatile electrical safety testing technology is helping a specialist facilities management and building services company, Inviron, to maintain safe working conditions at one of the UK’s largest manufacturing sites.

As part of its responsibility for providing planned preventative and reactive maintenance for the mechanical and electrical systems at the Airbus Broughton site in North Wales‚ technical facilities management specialist Inviron undertakes all of the plant’s portable appliance testing requirements using Seaward test equipment.

Airbus’ Broughton facility includes two large industrial manufacturing units‚ with supporting administration and staff service areas. The largest of the engineering areas‚ at over 83‚500 sq metres‚ houses the manufacturing and wing assembly for the A380 airliner. Around 6‚000 people work on the site.

Inviron’s PAT services include the scheduled and reactive testing of all electrical equipment and appliances‚ alongside test data records management and electrical repairs.

Given the variety of working environments and activities present on the site – including engineering‚ construction‚ office‚ kitchen‚ shop and public areas – there is an extremely wide variety of electrical equipment in use. These include both 230V and 110V hand held tools and portable equipment‚ 3-phase equipment‚ IT and office equipment and catering appliances.

As a result‚ Inviron’s team of engineers based at Broughton use different Seaward safety testers to meet the electrical test needs of different types of appliances.

Hand held electrical tools and portable appliances used in production areas are monitored‚ tested and repaired on a daily basis using a Seaward Supernova Plus.

Electrical equipment used in office and other non-manufacturing locations at Broughton are tested in periodic phases by Inviron engineers using the Seaward PrimeTest 350. This lightweight‚ handheld tester is battery powered and specifically designed for maximum portability – enabling engineers to carry out all required electrical tests quickly and effectively.

All test results‚ records and data gathered from the inspection and testing programmes are retained in a dedicated PATGuard Elite database. This enables full and easy access to equipment safety records‚ the production of test certificates for all electrical items and the scheduling of future test dates.

In this way‚ with such a large site to cover and so many electrical appliances in use‚ the key to managing electrical safety at the Airbus Broughton site is the effective integration of equipment records‚ test procedures and future test scheduling.

Steve Salter‚ Inviron Engineer ‚ said: “Portable appliance testing is an important part of the health and safety and equipment maintenance policies.

“To meet this need‚ Comprehensive testing‚ traceability of results and unambiguous test records are all vital to demonstrate compliance. The use of Seaward PAT test technology helps us to achieve this and enables us to prove a proactive and electrical safety testing service to Airbus.”

Safety reminder for users of DIY and garden tools

Free safety checks are being offered to gardeners and DIY enthusiasts to help cut down on accidents and act as a reminder of the dangers of mishandling electric tools. 

Liverpool Trading Standards started the campaign to raise awareness of the safe use of outdoor electrical appliances and encourage people to check for hazards before they start working.

They will also be promoting the use of RCDs to reduce the risk of accidents.

Councillor Ann O’Byrne, Liverpool cabinet member for community safety, said:” Given how wet this summer has been there has been very few opportunities for gardening and outdoor work so, if we get any good weather, people will be tempted to get out to do the jobs that have been piling up.

“And the risk is that they will be using equipment which has been out of use for some time so it is very important that it is checked to make sure it is safe. Even if equipment has been used regularly you should still have it tested so there is no risk.”

Call for more electrical safety legislation

Electrical safety legislation should be considered to protect tenants living in private rented sector properties, a Swansea member of the Welsh Assembly has told colleagues.

Mike Hedges called on the Welsh Government to consider the move during plenary questions to housing minister Huw Lewis.

The Swansea East Assembly Member asked the minister about the possibility of legislating for the compulsory fitting of residual current devices (RCDs), or trip switches, in private rented properties, to help protect tenants against fatal electric shocks and reduce the risk of electrical fires.

He said: "Research has shown us that tenants in the private rented sector are more likely to be at risk from electrical accidents due to a number of reasons, including poorly maintained electrical installations. Although landlords are legally obliged to carry out annual gas safety checks, they are not legally obliged to carry out annual electrical safety checks."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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