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PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 15

This issue covers:

SPECIAL SEAWARD 30TH ANNIVERSARY PAT CELEBRATION

To mark its 30th anniversary, electrical test specialist Seaward is holding its own ‘Best of British’ celebration with a special PAT promotion.

For a limited period only, the Seaward PAT Celebration will giveaway a host of free PAT accessories alongside every PrimeTest 50 or PrimeTest 100 sold.

The Seaward PT50 Celebration kit comprises a simple push button operated PrimeTest 50 safety checker alongside a complimentary set of pass/fail test labels and a test record keeping logbook. The kit also includes a free PAT Checkbox to ensure accuracy of testing, with an introductory PAT guide, special product demonstration and training DVDs.

For those that require more detailed PAT records, the Seaward PT100 Celebration kit includes the PrimeTest 100 safety tester alongside a free PatGuard Elements manual entry software program. This enables test results to be entered into a simple PC–based database record keeping system.

The PT100 kit also includes a special adaptor for testing 110V appliances and a PAT business builder CD, alongside pass/fail labels, results logbook, PAT Checkbox and PAT training DVDs.

Both kits represent a tremendous value for money offer with considerable savings. Both testers are easy to use hand held instruments that are battery powered for maximum portability. The Primetest 50 is a basic electrical safety checker that provides an immediate ‘pass/fail’ indication at the push of a single button. The Primetest 100 facilitates a broader range of tests for Class I and Class II appliances, as well as an IEC lead test.

Established in 1982, Seaward has become a global market leader in portable appliance testing with the introduction of a series of innovative instruments and electrical safety testing technology.

Central to this concept has been the introduction of PATs and accessories that succeed in making testing easier and faster without compromising the quality of testing.

The special PAT Celebration is intended to reinforce this message and underline the company’s 30 year commitment to UK manufacturing and the highest standards of quality and performance.

For full details visit www.seaward.co.uk.

ECA urges better understanding of risk-based approach to PAT

The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) warns that poor interpretation of HSE guidance on Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) could result in a drop in electrical safety standards in the workplace. Misinterpretation of the new guidelines could lead some businesses to underestimate the risk of electrical fault, shock and fire, or lose sight of the need for ongoing electrical inspection and maintenance.

The HSE’s recent guidance says that in many everyday situations, a competent, visual inspection of plugs and leads may be enough to ensure electrical safety. However, Paul Reeve, Head of Business Policy at the ECA and Chartered Fellow of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, has expressed concern, saying: “The HSE is keen to show how PAT can be done cost-effectively and we welcome their practical approach. However, businesses still need to be aware of the risk of faulty electrical equipment, and how to manage that risk properly.”

The ECA says that to ensure the safety of portable electrical appliances, businesses need:

- A good understanding of the risk from portable electrical equipment, taking into account what the equipment does and, importantly, how it is used.

- On-going, risk-based portable appliance inspection, visual or otherwise, carried out by competent people.

- Knowledge of what to do when inspection finds problems with leads or equipment.

Reeve continues: “Electrical inspection remains vitally important to personal safety and fire prevention. Competent electrical contractors can help businesses to get the balance right for a practical, cost-effective approach to PAT which will help to ensure electrical safety at work. More details at www.eca.co.uk.

HSE fines lighting supplier for unsafe electrics

A Keighley lighting supplier has been fined for subjecting its staff to ‘appalling’ working conditions and exposing them to risks from defective electrics and welding fumes.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector visited the premises of Keylighting Ltd as a result of a number of complaints about the working conditions at the site. A catalogue of health and safety failings was uncovered and specialists were called in to examine the electrical systems, a range of hygiene issues, and to assess the safety management of the welding and powder spraying process.

Five Improvement Notices were served on Keylighting by HSE linked to working conditions and seven more Improvement Notices were served after an electrical specialist found an eight-month-old report from a separate company had revealed 70 defects on the electrical system, seven of them requiring urgent attention. None of the electrical faults had been acted upon.

Keylighting Ltd, of North Brook Works, Alincote Street, Keighley, was prosecuted by HSE for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 between 25 May 2010 and 25 January 2011. The company pleaded guilty and was fined £8,000 with £20,000 to pay in costs. More details at www.hse.gov.uk/press.

RIDDOR changes proposed

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has opened a 12-week consultation on proposals to simplify and clarify how businesses comply with the requirements under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (as amended) (RIDDOR ’95).

The review is part of HSE’s work to make it easier for businesses and other users to understand what they need to do to comply with health and safety law, following recommendations made in Professor Löfstedt’s independent review of health and safety legislation.

The proposals also seek to implement the changes recommended in the 2010 Government Report, ‘Common Sense, Common Safety’, by re-examining whether RIDDOR is the best approach to providing an accurate national picture of workplace accidents. More at www.hse.gov.uk.

PAT Q&A – Class II appliances

Q: I am looking for some clarification on class II equipment. When testing, for example, a convector heater that has a partly metal frame, the earth probe is connected to the metal to ensure there is no leakage. But what about a standard lamp or an all plastic hoover when there is no external metal?. Is it still worth doing a class II test when there is nothing to connect or reference to?

A: Chapter 15.5, page 75 of the IET Code of Practice states that: When testing insulation resistance on a Class II appliance the test probe should be connected to any metal parts or suspect joints in the enclosure where conductive material may have accumulated. This may require multiple tests.

In the circumstances, when dealing with an 'insulation-encased Class II' appliance (as defined on page 56), then you need to use your judgement as to whether there are any 'suspect joints' that require testing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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