PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 45

This issue covers:

  • Electrical faults contribute to fire risks
  • Testing in a Winter Wonderland
  • Home safety alert from ESF
  • Landlord breached electrical safety rules
  • NICEIC Live South & Safety & Health Expo

Electrical faults contribute to fire risks

Fire Statistics Great Britain continue to report faulty appliances and leads as the dominant cause of accidental fires in non-residential buildings.

In the figures for 2013-2014, there were 22,200 fires recorded in buildings that were not dwellings. The majority of these fires occurred in private garages and sheds (21%), shops (13%), industrial premises (11%) and restaurants, cafes pubs and bars (10%).

Of these fires, about 75% were regarded as accidental. The main cause was faulty appliances and leads which was said to be responsible for around 3,700 fires, down by 5% from 2012-2013.

Another key cause of accidental fires in other buildings was the misuse of equipment or appliances which accounted for 2,200 fires and was down by 8% from one year earlier. Full details of the latest fire statistics are available here.

Testing in a Winter Wonderland

Advanced portable appliance testing technology is helping the world leaders in artificial snow and winter effects ensure that its equipment is maintained to the highest safety standards.

For over 30 years the Gloucestershire-based Snow Business has supplied specialist artificial snow making equipment that has transformed film sets, advertising locations and other special events into amazing winter wonderland scenery.

To make sure that the specialist electrical equipment used to create the spectacular visual backdrops remains safe to operate, the company has turned to the advanced Seaward Apollo 600 portable appliance tester.

The company’s in house engineering team uses the advanced tester to carry out regular testing of around 500 individual items of equipment each year. Among the wide range of equipment tested are special falling snow machines, snow ‘blower’ generators and agitators, high pressure pumps and associated extension cables, RCDs and electrical accessories.

As well as providing technicians with artificial snow-making equipment on film sets and locations, Snow Business also makes equipment available on direct hire for special private and corporate events.

All equipment is therefore tested thoroughly before it is issued in line with standard best practice and hire industry guidelines.

The lightweight Apollo 600 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 RCD trip time.

The automatic inclusion of appliance bar codes on the labels enables the easy identification of appliances and re-test sequences, speeding up the testing process – an important factor in tracking and managing the movement of large numbers of equipment through the company’s busy engineering workshops.

Andy Wilson, head of engineering at Snow Business, explains: “We’re known as the world leaders in artificial snow and winter effects and ensuring the safe and reliable operation of our equipment is of critical importance to our professional standing in the industry.

“Whether we are supplying machines for a Hollywood film set or a children’s birthday party, every item of snow making equipment that leaves our workshops needs to be tested to verify its safe operation.

“The Apollo 600 enables us to perform this vital task quickly and efficiently. In particular, with responsibility for such a wide range of equipment, the tester and its accessories streamline the complete identification, testing and labelling process, giving everyone the safety reassurance that they require.” Read the full PAT testing case study here.

Click here to request your free demo of the Apollo 600 PAT tester

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Home safety alert from ESF

A study by Electrical Safety First (ESF) has identified that risky behaviour in the home is leading to a huge number of accidents, which peak on Saturday evenings when four accidents take place every second.

The ESF says that even the smallest mishaps can lead to devastating consequences. This is the result of the increasing number of unnecessary risks we take, which range from overloading sockets to fixing appliances that are still plugged in and using power tools without RCD protection.

On average, Saturday at 6.30pm is considered to be the most dangerous time to be at home, although the research showed that the riskiest days and times can be different, depending on your age and lifestyle.

For example, the most dangerous day for a student is Wednesday. They are most likely to start a small fire in the kitchen (12%) and at the same time most likely to remove batteries from smoke alarms (21%) and 13% of students admit to having tried to dry clothes or other objects in their microwaves.

The consequences of taking risks around the home can be serious – electricity alone causes 70 deaths a year and 350,000 serious injuries – and the number of fires has increased by 10% in the last year. House fires, (a third of which were caused by the misuse of electrical appliances) resulted in almost a billion pounds worth of damage last year and caused 258 deaths, of which 146 occurred in homes without a working smoke alarm. Details at

Landlord breached electrical safety rules

A Lincolnshire landlord faces a £5,000 penalty in fines and court costs after failing to keep three bedsit houses he manages in a safe and suitable condition, a court has ruled.

The landlord pleaded guilty to nine offences of failing to meet regulations relating to the management of houses in multiple occupancy in the town. He was given fines of £2,800, a victim surcharge of £75 and must meet North Kesteven District Council’s prosecution costs following multiple complaints from tenants about the condition and safety of the properties in Sleaford.

The breaches related to failure to provide electrical safety certificates on each house, not having fire alarms tested, not having a hand rail in one house, inadequate lighting in two of them and a locked front door which could not be opened from the inside in the event of a fire – all factors which the magistrates described as significant safety issues.

North Kesteven District Council, said the case illustrated the seriousness with which the council took public safety within private-rented housing as well as its own stock.

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NICEIC Live South & Safety & Health Expo

Seaward will be exhibiting at NICEIC Live South on 14th May 2015 at Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey. Visit stand 34 for your chance to get hands on with the Seaward PAT testing and Solar PV testing range.

Also, catch us at the Safety and Health Expo (stand R2225) on 16-18th June 2015, at the ExCel, London. We will be showcasing the Apollo series, which provides a fast and simple safety management solution for any workplace test or inspection including PAT testing, PPE, emergency lighting checks and other preventative maintenance programmes

For all upcoming Seaward events visit our events page

Do you use Seaward PAT testing equipment? - If you think you may have a story for future e-news bulletins, please let us know by contacting us here.


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