PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 21

This issue covers:

  • Energy saving devices pose safety threat
  • Electrical fault causes electrocution of plumber
  • Apollo lift off at Safety and Health Expo 2013
  • Electrical industry gala event
  • New C&G PAT Courses provide best practice advice
  • HAE guidance on electrical safety sent to members

Energy saving devices pose safety threat

Recent testing commissioned by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) on a selection of plug-in energy saving devices has shown that not only were manufacturers’ energy saving claims unjustified, but also the products contained dangerous electrical safety failures.

The ESC’s safety and performance tests were carried out in an independent laboratory against general safety standards.

The manufacturers claim that these devices offer an energy saving or reduction in electricity costs of up to 35%. To test performance, the power consumption of a typical domestic television was measured with and without the energy saving device connected. None of the products showed an energy saving.

Additionally, none of the products passed the safety assessment with problems found, including accessible live parts, absence of an internal fuse protection, supplied with a substandard UK fitted plug, and insufficient resistance to heat and fire.

Although not necessarily an indication of a safety hazard, none of the samples had adequate safety marking, with three of them missing the CE-marking, which suggests that EU and corresponding UK safety laws are either blatantly not being applied or are being misunderstood.

Martyn Allen, Head of Technical Development at the ESC said: “While it is cause for concern that these products do not deliver the energy savings claimed by manufacturers, the electrical safety failures are extremely worrying. At best they are a waste of money. At worst they could cause serious injury.”.

The Trading Standards Institute´s consumer and product safety lead officer Christine Heemskerk said: "We are urging consumers not to use these products as tests have shown that not only do they not deliver tangible energy savings, they also can pose a fire and electrocution risk.

More details at


Electrical fault causes electrocution of plumber

A Bristol property development firm has been prosecuted after a plumber was electrocuted while installing a washing machine.

The HSE reported that the worker was killed while working on the appliance in the kitchen of a house in Clifton, Bristol in March 2008.

During the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution of employers Birakos Enterprises Limited, Bristol Magistrates´ Court heard the socket that powered the washing machine was wired incorrectly.

Despite the kitchen´s electrics being signed off as safe by the electrical division of Birakos Enterprises Limited, it was discovered the live and earth wires had been put into the socket incorrectly, meaning the washing machine became electrically live when plugged in.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Steven Frain said: "The fault should have been found during testing but this fault was left unresolved and ultimately led to the death of a young father."

Birakos Enterprises Limited of Clifton Wood House, Clifton Wood Road, Bristol was found guilty of breaching Regulation 4 (1) and 16 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined a total of £125,000 and ordered to pay costs of £50,000.

More at


Apollo lift off at Safety and Health Expo 2013

Put a date in your diary to visit Hall 1 Stand H4 at the Safety and Health Expo 2013 in May to see Seaward’s latest electrical tester that establishes a brand new approach to portable appliance testing and maintaining workplace safety.

Designed in line with the 4th Edition of the IET Code of Practice, the multipurpose Apollo 600 portable appliance tester includes a host of special features to assist the user and ensure a proportionate response to the inspection and testing of electrical equipment in line with the latest guidance.

Uniquely, the innovative Apollo 600 is equipped with onboard risk assessment tools and an integral digital camera to ensure risk assessments are carried out correctly and that results are stored against sites, locations and assets along with visual evidence if required.

The new tester includes all of the electrical safety tests required by the IET Code of Practice including, earth continuity, insulation resistance at 250V or 500V, protective conductor current, touch current, IEC lead polarity and portable RCD trip time, without the risk of tripping the installation RCD.

In addition to testing plug in appliances, the Apollo 600 is also fully equipped to test fixed electrical equipment as required by the new Code of Practice.

For broader workplace safety tasks, the new instrument also provides a simple and effective means of compiling complete reports for many other workplace inspections and testing requirements including fire alarm and detection systems

For full details please visit and


Electrical industry gala event

The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) is launching the Electric Event, to be held at the ICC Birmingham from 20-22 June 2013.

Combining a gala awards dinner, conference, exhibition and technical workshops, the Electric Event celebrates electrical excellence and brings together, under one roof, everything the electrical contractor needs to successfully run their business.

Sponsored by manufacturers, wholesalers and industry bodies, the event includes the inauguration of the new ECA president for 2013-14, and the ECA’s Annual Conference, with a motivational closing session led by explorer and former Castaway star Ben Fogle.

A range of leading figures from the industry will deliver presentations on building information modelling, home automation, intuitive buildings and smart technologies and a range of technical workshops will take place alongside a trade exhibition featuring more than 40 companies.

The event concludes with the first ever ECA Gala Awards Dinner, hosted by comedian Marcus Brigstocke on 22 June 2013. These awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of ECA members over the last year.

More at


New C&G PAT Courses provide best practice advice

Electrical safety testing specialist the Seaward Group has introduced new City and Guilds approved training courses covering all the practical and management issues associated with portable appliance testing (PAT) in the workplace.

The courses are designed to equip individuals with all the knowledge required to carry out portable appliance testing professionally, correctly and safely in accordance with best practice. The course includes an understanding of the requirements of the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR) and the latest IEE Code of Practice.

The two day City and Guilds 2377-22 In-service Inspection and Testing course is designed to help with the practical disciplines of electrical appliance safety testing.

The one day City and Guilds 2377-32 Management Requirements for the Maintenance of Electrical Equipment is aimed at those with administrative responsibilities for the safety and maintenance of electrical equipment.

The course content includes preparation for the online City and Guilds 2377 exams and special Seaward certification is provided for those participants who do not require formal qualifications.

Both City and Guilds 2377 courses can be completed at the same time as a combined two day full PAT testing course, or can be taken separately.

For those with little or no electrical knowledge, a special one day foundation course can be taken in advance of the formal City and Guilds training courses.

Training is being held at various locations across the UK and can also be provided at Seaward’s facilities in County Durham or at a company’s own premises.

For further details visit or call 0191 587 8744


HAE guidance on electrical safety sent to members

Close on the heels of the new 4th Edition of the IET Code of Practice for the in service inspection of electrical equipment, comes similar advice for operators in the tool hire sector.

The Hire Association of Europe says that all Association members have been sent, by post, a complimentary copy of the newly published Code of Practice: Guidance on Electrical Safety Testing in the Hire Industry.

This book, launched at the recent Executive Hire Show is the culmination of a year´s worth of research and panel meetings with contributions from members and some key industry bodies including HSE, VOSA, PLASA and IET.

A series of portable appliance testing Q&As have also been included on the HAE’s website to provide further guidance and advice.

More details at

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