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PAT Testing News Round-Up - November 2011

This issue covers:

PATs progress

The new formal PAT body, the Association for Professional Appliance Testing, continues to encourage contractors to apply for membership following its formal launch. 

The Association, which is out to gain wide industry recognition, offers a tiered structure to make membership accessible to everyone in the industry involved in In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.

“With the vision of ensuring a safe healthy working and living environment, the Association looks to provide its members with support and promotion of using registered members, education of the end user of electrical equipment and lobbying for best practice at all times and the introduction of nationally recognised standards to the industry of In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment,” the Association said in a statement.

The Association said members' customers will benefit greatly from its common goal.

“By employing or awarding contracts to a registered member, who has met the registration criteria of the Association, customers can be confident of high standards of service and safety by a suitably qualified competent professional.”

Membership details can be obtained by calling 0845 052 3515 or by email at info@upat.org.uk

HSE eventy safety guide to be updated

The Health and Safety Executive recently carried out consultation on a revised version of HSG195 ‘The event safety guide – A guide to health, safety and welfare at music and similar events.’

 The draft has been developed by HSE and key stakeholders in the industry to help organisers comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) and associated regulations.

The revised guide focuses on risk assessment and management and it includes a chapter devoted to ‘Electricity and Lighting’ which reiterates that:

• Event organisers, contractors and others using electrical equipment must do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure electrical installations and/or equipment are properly selected, installed and maintained so as not to cause death or serious injury.
• Those working with electrical equipment and installations should be competent.
• Provide residual current devices and circuit breakers.
• Take risks from lightning strikes into account and use appropriate measures to reduce the risk.

The updated draft also reinforces the benefits of keeping maintenance logs for portable and transportable electrical equipment, including test results, as a useful management tool for monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of electrical maintenance schemes.

In addition the new document notes that, overall, the scale of any event will determine the complexity of the testing required. The minimum requirement would be a portable appliance test certificate for any ‘plug-in’ equipment. The maximum requirement would be the test requirements found in BS7671 applied to the entire installation.

Consultation on the new draft ended earlier this month. For more details visit: www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/eventsafety

Managing health and safety issues

The British Safety Council has launched an e-learning version of the well established IOSH Managing Safely course.

 The course, which is intended for managers and supervisors in all organisations across all sectors, provides delegates with sufficient knowledge to be able to manage health and safety issues in their workplace.

This course, which can be completed in 24 hours, includes an introduction to health and safety management, the identification of hazards, assessing and controlling risks, understanding responsibilities, investigating accidents and incidents and measuring performance. More details at www.britsafe.org

Product safety conference highlights appliance dangers

The Electrical Safety Council’s recent Product Safety Conference brought together a wide range of speakers and delegates to discuss the latest developments in market surveillance and electrical product safety.

The programme covered a range of key issues, including a review of the UK’s surveillance priorities and a look at how collaborative working between manufacturers and government agencies is increasing seizures of unsafe and counterfeit goods.

Many of the presentations highlighted the dangers posed by unsafe electrical appliances and some of the key messages included in presentations included:

- London Fire Brigade reported that 891 fires caused by large domestic appliances in the period 2008-2011.
- 10% of world trade is now represented by counterfeit products, with approx £30 million of counterfeit electrical goods entering the UK market in 2010.
- Appliance testing by the trading standards office of one UK county council reported that 26% were non-compliant and 45% were unsafe.
- Statistics from Essex Fire and Rescue showed that from 2006-2008, there were 438 primary fires as a result of faulty electrical appliances, These caused 75 casualties.
- A safety campaign in care homes in the south of England revealed that 5.8% of the electrical items tested were found to be faulty.

Special PAT training DVD

An interactive electrical safety training package has been developed for facilities managers and health and safety professionals responsible for ensuring the safety of appliances and electrical equipment in the workplace.

Portable appliance testing (PAT) instrumentation specialist Seaward has produced the easy to follow DVD training pack to enable dutyholders to familiarise themselves with the electrical safety inspection and testing associated with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

The special Seaward training package comprises an informative DVD presentation that comes with unique online customer login details to enable users to take a formal PAT assessment after viewing the film.

The presentation includes a practical explanation of all the fundamental tests required to ensure the safety of electrical equipment, alongside common sense advice and guidance on the frequency of testing and preventative maintenance matters.

Colourful graphics are complemented by a jargon-free easy to understand voice over providing all the information needed to enable users to progress to the online assessment stage. Successful completion of the program is rewarded with a PAT certificate.

Seaward is a market leader in the supply of integrated PAT testing solutions that comprise advanced test instrumentation alongside results management software, training and technical support services.

More details at www.seaward.co.uk or to view the product yourself visit www.seaward.co.uk/products/portable-appliance-testing-equipment/pat-software/pat-training-course-dvd

ESC says basic electrical blunders are risking lives

A new study from the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) finds that millions of people in the UK expose themselves and their families to potentially fatal accidents in the home through simple electrical blunders because of an alarming lack of knowledge about the real danger of electricity.

• At least one person in the UK dies each week from an electrical accident and nearly 1,000 are injured every day
• Complacency is leading to basic blunders, including repairing appliances whilst still plugged in
• People don’t know the danger of electricity, citing plane crashes and lightning strikes as similar concerns, despite fatalities due to electricity being drastically higher

The research from ESC reveals a dangerous level of ignorance about the perils of electricity in UK households. In the past year, almost one million people have repaired an appliance while it is still plugged in; despite the fact this can result in a fatal or serious injury. Other electrical ‘confessions’ included knowingly using faulty plugs or sockets (12.2 million people), ignoring burning smells coming from an appliance or socket (1.5 million people) and trailing cables near hot surfaces or cookers (2 million people) .

People are severely misjudging the risks involved with electricity. At least one person dies each week from its everyday use, while 350,000 people are injured annually.

More details on the survey at www.esc.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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