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PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 8

This issue covers:

Fourteen plugs in one socket!

Continuing the recent theme of faulty appliances and the associated dangers of fire, we came across a report that faulty or misused electrical equipment caused more than 200 fires in homes in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes last year, leading to 26 injuries.

Now Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service and the Electrical Safety Council are campaigning to urge householders to take action so that they don't become one of this year's statistics.

Faulty plugs and wiring, and electrical equipment such as hair straighteners accidentally left on, are among the numerous and often unnoticed fire hazards in the typical home. In addition, many sockets could still be overloaded with space heaters and electric blankets because of the cold weather.

This picture of a dangerously overloaded 13-amp wall socket was not posed - it was taken with the owner's permission while Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service was carrying out a safety check in someone's home. He had connected three adapters to each other and plugged in 14 electrical items.

Chris Bailey, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's community safety team, said: "Fires in the home can be devastating, but many could have been prevented if people had simply unplugged a piece of equipment after using it or not tried to run too many items off an adapter.

"For example, during a recent home safety check, our staff found 14 plugs attached to a single 13-amp wall socket. Three adapters had been connected to each other, and if it wasn't already enough of a fire hazard, there were no smoke alarms in the home and the whole lot had been covered with a bean bag to make it look tidier!"

PAT boost at Arthur McKay

Investment in new electrical test technology has helped one of Scotland’s leading building support services companies to improve the working efficiencies of its PAT field services team.

Arthur McKay has recently equipped its portable appliance testing (PAT) team with new Seaward PrimeTest 350 multi-function electrical safety testers as part of company moves to continue to utilise the latest technology available and improve its services to customers.

In doing so the company claims that test times have been significantly reduced, creating improvements in productivity without compromising the integrity of the equipment testing being undertaken.

The lightweight PrimeTest 350 handheld PAT tester incorporates all Class I and Class II required electrical safety tests in a compact design.

In addition, in keeping with the IEE Code of Practice, the PrimeTest 350 is also equipped with an RCD test, a 250V insulation resistance test and an alternative leakage test. As well as Bluetooth technology for the wireless connection of barcode scanners, label printers and other accessories.

An important factor in Arthur McKay’s choice of the PrimeTest 350 was the extended long life battery power of the unit which reduces the reliance on mains supply and substantially cuts the downtime between tests. As a result, engineers can complete testing in large multi-location sites without constantly plugging-in and re-booting the instrument from one test location to the next.

Established in 1958, Arthur McKay provides a range of mechanical and electrical, FM and networks services that includes electrical safety testing and compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

The company’s test engineers carry out portable appliance testing for a range of clients including local authorities, educational establishments, industrial sites and the retail and commercial sectors. Although the bulk of the work is carried out in Scotland, work for some customers also takes place in group locations throughout the UK.

Before selecting the new Seaward testers the company reviewed and trialled other testers but preferred the versatility and lightweight portability of the PrimeTest 350 model.

New NICEIC T&M website

NICEIC has launched a new website offering contractors Test and Measurement equipment at competitive prices.

The site includes Seaward portable appliance testers and a wealth of knowledge to help in the identification and purchasing of test and measurement equipment.

For a limited time only NICEIC Test Equipment is offering a 20% discount on NICEIC books when purchasing a Multifunction Installation Tester or Portable Appliance Tester.

For more details and to shop online visit

PAT and counterfeit electrical appliances

As well as its vital role in preventing workplace injuries and fires, portable appliance inspection and testing is also one of the main ways in which dangerous counterfeit electrical equipment is identified.

At last year’s ESC Product Safety Conference, BEAMA summarised the problems related to the infiltration of traditional supply chains by counterfeit electrical equipment that had not been subject to normal compliance testing and certification.

  • Approx £30 million of counterfeit electrical products entered the UK market in 2010
  • Counterfeit electrical products include everything from domestic appliances, to cables and leads, lighting products, power tools and wiring accessories
  • 12.9 million counterfeit products have been seized and destroyed in the last 10 years

By carrying out the scheduled testing of all workplace electrical equipment and identifying common faults, PAT programmes have helped to uncover the presence of counterfeit goods that has entered conventional appliance supply chains.



















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