PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 62

This issue covers:

Fire claims from electrical faults increase

In the last year, the proportion of fire claims caused by electrical faults has risen by 35 per cent, now accounting for over a quarter (27 per cent) of overall fire claims, according to figures from the Co-op Insurance.

Claims analysts at the Co-op insurance believe that in addition to some of the more traditional causes for electrical faults, such as tumble dryers and washing machines, other common culprits include electric blankets and smaller appliances that require chargers such as e-cigarettes, mobile phones, iPads and laptops.

As technology invades our homes and we become more connected, the amount of technology people possess has vastly increased over recent years. 1.8 million mobile phone chargers are bought online in the UK each year and an estimated 2.1million people now using e-cigarettes in Great Britain.

Consumers need to be careful that they purchase official chargers, as counterfeit ones are often made with poor quality components that fail to meet UK safety regulations, according to charity Electrical Safety First.

Jonathan Guy, Head of Claims at the Co-op Insurance, says: “In the last year alone we’ve seen a surge in fire claims caused by electrical faults, with a correlation to counterfeit phone chargers. We’d like to warn people about the dangers of using these items, as the poor quality components can lead to not only electrocution and burns but serious house fires, with tragic circumstances.”

The full story is available here


Apollo 500 maintains college safety standards

Advanced electrical testing technology is helping the UK’s leading college for those with sight loss maintain the highest standards of safety.

The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) is using the specialist Apollo 500 testers to verify the safety of all electrical equipment and appliances used by teaching staff and students at its Hereford campus.

As part of the residential college’s health and safety policies, an in-house technical support team uses a Seaward Apollo 500 tester as the focal point of a formal portable appliance testing and planned preventative maintenance programme.

The Apollo 500 is a compact and lightweight unit and incorporates all the recommended safety tests for portable electrical appliances in line with the IET 4th Edition Code of Practice. These include point-to-point testing of fixed equipment and the testing of extension leads, power cords and RCDs.

At the College around 1,000 items of equipment are tested each year, with the results being stored in a central database for accurate record keeping and traceability of test histories for individual items of equipment.

The Apollo 500 tester forms part of our comprehensive range of portable appliance test instrumentation, software and accessories that are used widely to ensure the safety of electrical equipment used in the workplace.


Electrical equipment safety drive in Cornwall

Residents in Cornwall are being urged to keep safe this winter after a third of electric blankets were found to be unsafe last year.

In response, Cornwall Trading Standards and Cornwall Fire and Rescue are offering a free electric blanket safety check to all residents of Cornwall at special events in the coming weeks.

Every year around the country there are around 1000 home fires caused by faulty electric blankets with 20 people killed and 250 injured. Last year Cornwall safety checks found one in three blankets were faulty when tested.

Andy Burnside of Cornwall Trading Standards said: "Our aim is to help reduce the risk of fire in people's homes. These events have proved to be very successful over the years including us identifying bare wires, faulty controllers, no overheating protection, insulation breakdown of the internally stitched in wires and known product recalls that consumers had missed from not completing guarantee cards.

“These blankets could have caused serious fires and injuries so it proves this free service can make a huge difference to people’s safety across Cornwall.”

Householders are also being invited to bring along small home appliances like electric fires, plug in radiators, fan heaters, toasters and kettles to be 'portable appliance tested for only £1 per item.


Electrical safety advice for landlords

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has taken steps to ensure its members understand their obligations to ensure that the electrical installation and appliances provided in rented premises are safe when the tenancy begins and are in proper working order throughout the tenancy.

The RLA has launched an online advice centre under the 'Safe and Secure' theme to help landlords identify the possible hazards in private rented houses.

The aim is to help landlords ensure that homes made available for rent are safe, legal and secure home for the tenant. The RLA’s 'Safe and Secure' home information is available here


Unsafe white goods still making the news

National news services have again highlighted the fire risks posed by electrically unsafe white goods after a rise in the number of electrical fires across Staffordshire.

The fire risk warning came six separate fire incidents were reported in close succession, three involving tumble dryers, and one each involving a dishwasher, washing machine and fridge-freezer.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service urged people to be vigilant while using similar electrical items in the wake of the blazes.

Staffordshire fire investigation officer, Paul Shaw, said: “Electrical fires involving white goods are not only very upsetting for those affected but could potentially have put their lives at risk.

“I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to never leave your washing machine on overnight or when you are out of the property. Tumble dryer filters should be cleaned regularly and fluff removed.

“Householders should also clean behind fridges and freezers to ensure that the air vents do not become blocked.” The full story is here


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