PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 58

This issue covers:

Faulty adaptors prompt safety warning

The safety risks of non-compliant electrical accessories have again been highlighted with hundreds of dangerous electrical items being seized by trading standards officers in North Tyneside.

Officers from the council’s trading standards team found hundreds of power adaptors in a warehouse intended for use to charge Apple devices, as well as universal travel adaptors for charging laptops and mobile phones overseas.

Some adaptors, imported from China, were tested and found to be dangerous, with a high risk of an electric shock. Trading standards officers removed all the devices and are now carrying out enquiries into their importation.

A spokesman for trading standards added: “These were dangerous products. The AC adaptors breached safety regulations because the manufacturer’s name or brand was not displayed; there was inadequate insulation between the primary and secondary circuits – this greatly increases the risk of electric shock; the electrical conductors were only connected via solder; and the three pins were too long.”

“The universal travel adaptors breached safety regulations because the manufacturer’s name or brand was not displayed; the input frequency was not displayed; and the three pins were too long.”

Apollo 600 PAT Tester

An integrated approach to electrical safety testing

An integrated asset management system with electrical safety testing at its core is helping a leading supplier of technical services to outdoor events and festivals meet its quality control and safety compliance obligations.

Figure of Eight Events has recently equipped itself with a Seaward Apollo 600 appliance tester to verify the safe operation of all electrical items, distribution equipment and cabling.

The team behind Figure of Eight Events Ltd provides technical services and support for public events including the supply of power, sound and lighting systems, in addition to staging, rigging and set design.

With thousands of assets, Figure of Eight Events uses the Apollo 600 with PATGuard 3 software to test all electrical items and keep a computerised register of all equipment. This software tracks the maintenance, test status and location of all electrical items utilised by the company. The software is also used to keep records of ladder inspections and rigging equipment.

Rich Rayner, director of Figure of Eight Events, said: “Our reputation in the industry relies on the effectiveness of our quality control procedures and on going compliance with various legislative requirements. We test extensively onsite with the equipment in its environment, carrying this out combined with routine PAT testing gives us an exceptionally reliable product.

“Our events calendar grows each year to the extent that we do not stop until early January when we remove winter ice rink projects. This puts even more pressure on us to clean, check, test and document our assets before the next event season begins. The Apollo 600 coupled with the Test n Tag printer allows us to do this incredibly efficiently with minimal fuss and maximum options.”

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Electrical appliance fire risk warning

A local news report has highlighted a spate of “freak” fires caused by faulty domestic machines that left Shropshire householders reeling and prompted fire chiefs to warn consumers against buying potential “killer bargains”.

The article highlighted routine domestic chores that turned into nightmares for some families as dryers and washing machines caught fire, causing thousands of pounds in damage – and untold heartache for home owners.

In response local fire and rescue services issued a warning with a checklist of do’s and don’ts to prevent further misery after it was revealed there were an unprecedented 254 accidental domestic fires in the county in the past year.

The majority of house fires started in the kitchen with cookers being top of the “hit list” with a recorded 86 blazes from April 2015 to the end of March 2016. Second came tumble dryers and washing machines (28) equally divided at 14 fires each; followed by faulty cables (20); toaster and grills (19); microwaves (18) and heating devices (13). Candles, cigarette lighters, dishwashers, fridge freezers, computer equipment and hair dryers caused the remainder.

John Das Gupta of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We aim to reduce domestic fires by 20 per cent in five years from an average of 248 a year down to 186. It is a massive challenge and we have failed so far in reaching the target.”

The report said that a rise in single households, more over 65’s living alone, and an increase in internet shopping to buy cheaper white goods may be partly to blame. There has also been an increase in computer use, with cheap electrical chargers, overloaded sockets and frayed wiring also causing fires. The full article is available here

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Appliance safety risks highlighted by fire and rescue services

A number of newspaper reports around the country have again highlighted the fire risks posed by faulty electrical appliances.

In the Daily Telegraph an online news story reported how ‘hundreds of thousands of families’ are at risk of fire from potentially deadly dishwashers, ovens and washing machines.

The appliances have been linked to dozens of fires in British homes and according to NFU Mutual, a household insurer, ovens and dishwashers were the leading cause of household appliance-related fire in 2015, each causing more than twice as many fires as tumble driers.

White goods manufacturer Whirlpool is in the process of fixing and replacing 4.3 million tumble dryers across the UK, after customers were notified of a widespread safety defect last October.

London Fire Brigade’s head of fire investigation, Charlie Pugsley, said: "While recent years have seen fires in the home steadily falling, fires caused by electrical goods are falling at a much slower rate. We strongly believe a single, publicly accessible register of recalled goods would make all the difference."

In separate stories East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service issued a safety warning after crews attended an electrical fire in a tumble dryer and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service highlighted the risks associated with electric blankets after the death of a caravan owner in a fire caused by an electric fault.

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Seaward at Safety & Health Expo 2016

Seaward, the market-leading manufacturer of portable appliance testing equipment will be exhibiting at Safety & Health Expo 2016 (London ExCel, 21-23 June) to showcase its expanded Apollo series of testers.

The Apollo range provides a fast and simple safety management solution for any workplace test or inspection need including PAT testing, PPE, emergency lighting checks and other preventative maintenance programmes.

Leading the way is the Apollo 600, a multi-tasking PAT tester with an on board digital camera to capture images for inclusion in risk and inspection records and a risk assessment tool to help calculate re-test periods.

The Apollo 500 has the same range of PAT tests as the Apollo 600, but does not include a camera, and is designed for dedicated plug and play electrical testing with a large internal test memory, for those with high volume test schedules.

Finally, the latest addition to the range is the new Apollo 400 model, a simple no nonsense PAT tester which has been introduced as a value for money mid-volume PAT where memory storage of up to 2000 test records is required

When used with PATGuard 3 software, the Seaward range of portable appliance testers provides a total solution to recording, storing and managing workplace test and inspections in addition to PAT testing regimes. Visit Seaward on stand S2100 for further details and product demonstrations.

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