Most IT equipment now comes with detachable IEC leads or kettle leads as they are commonly called. There has been some debate if these should be tested as separate items. The latest edition of the Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment looks to clear the debate up.
According to the code of practice An appliance with a detachable power supply flex (appliance-coupler) should be tested with the code set plugged into the appliance. The cord set should be labeled and then tested separately from the appliance as follows:
A 3-core set should be tested as a Class I appliance
A 2-core set should be tested as a Class II appliance
The following inspections and tests should be made:
Class I earth continuity, polarity and insulation checks
Class II polarity and insulation checks
The reason that the cord set is inspected and tested separately from the appliance is that the cord set could be used during the course of the next period to supply a different appliance. For example, if the cord set was 2-core and , during the year, was inadvertently used to supply a Class I appliance, the appliance would be unearthed and present a risk of electric shock.
Furthermore you are unable to carry out a polarity check is the leads is only tested when plugged into the appliance
PAT Testing - do you need to test PC leads separately?
In the current environment companies are looking more and more at cost-cutting measures to improve or protect their financial status. Some of this can involve both essential and non-essential maintenance of their site incorporating the likes of PAT testing, with companies looking to complete this in-house in an effort to save costs and utilise their internal resources.
This can be an effective way to performing your electrical safety testing duties, but there are a number of issues that need to be considered before you make that decision.
The first factor to look at is to ensure that your staff are fully trained and know how to use all your PAT testing equipment. We have seen many cases where a machine has failed a test that should it should have passed and vice versa. There are often a number of external factors that have an effect on the testing, such as fuse ratings, so make sure your staff know what to look out for.
You also need to ensure that you are using the right equipment - if technical jargon such as IEC Earth Continuity, 3 phase equipment leaves you baffled then make sure you do your homework before you and your team get started in-house!
Additionally, in-house testing will require the additional outlay for PAT testing equipment, microwave leakage testers, labels, training and software which most outside contractors would include as a part of their services, so again in-house testing may not be the most cost-effective way to meet your legislative requirements. These requirements also include thorough documentation, which you will need to ensure your in-house team is able to produce.
Make sure that your internal team gets round and does enough tests over the course of a day. PAT testing contractors will generally look to carry out in excess of 200 tests per day and if your in-house team is not reaching this target then it may not be the most cost-effective approach.
If your team gets dragged away to other tasks and gets behind on their schedule, the work is sometimes never completed at all, meaning that your premises can fall short of the Provision and Use of Work Regulations 1998 Act which states: "Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided." Health and Safety officers aren't always too sympathetic if you tell them your team didn't have time to test everything.
External PAT testing contractors will normally be able to carry out a whole site in one hit, and don't cost extra for working out of hours and will make sure that vital equipment such as servers are handled and powered down correctly. This will allow your employees to concentrate on their core activities in the business and allow them to forget about the testing for another 51 weeks.
Are you doing In House PAT Testing?
33% of Electrical Testing & Inspection Companies making a loss
A shocking new report into the Electrical Testing & Inspection market shows 33% of Companies are making a loss.
Swift PAT is one of only 164 in the UK Electrical Testing & Inspection industry getting it right.
Here are some of the key findings:
Swift PAT Ltd is rated as "STRONG" reflecting our recent performance
72 Companies in the sector are in financial danger and will struggle to survive
Competitive pressure is now so intense, a third of companies are making a loss.
Are you doing In House PAT Testing?
Electrical Testing Companies Report
Cheap PAT Testing
If you are paying less than 70pence per item for your PAT Testing - it is almost certain that your equipment is NOT being tested properly.
Remember that The Health and Safety at Work Act makes you, not your PAT Testing Company, responsible if you have an accident.
Have you paid an unrealistically low price for your PAT Testing (and turned a blind eye to the fact that the so called 'PAT Engineers' were not actually testing your equipment at all), you would almost certainly get sued (and probably prosecuted by the HSE) if someone were to be seriously injured or killed on your premises.
An Oldham company has been fined 10k and ordered to pay 4k towards prosecution after it ignored two formal warnings about the danger of poorly maintained and dangerous electrics.
Townfield Manufacturing Co Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after inspectors uncovered a series of cracked socket casings, exposed conductors and live wires on a visit to its premises.
Townfield, which manufactures kitchen equipment for takeaway restaurants, was served with two improvement notices, requiring it to make the electrics safe and also to provide a reasonable working temperature for staff.
A subsequent visit by HSE inspectors found that the wall sockets were still unsafe and the company had only provided workers with one stand alone heater, which had barely lifted the temperature.
Speaking after the hearing, the investigating inspector at HSE, Sarah Taylor, said:
"This is one of the worst cases of dangerous electrics I have ever seen. The employees at this firm were at serious risk of injury or even death.
"The temperature of the factory was also a serious issue. It is simply not acceptable to expect staff to work in conditions so cold that you can see your breath in the air.
"Improvement notices are not intended to serve as a suggestion. They need to be taken seriously and, if companies fail to comply with them, HSE will look to prosecute."
Townfield Manufacturing Ltd was found guilty of two breaches of Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, by failing to comply with the improvement notices which had been issued.
Electric Shock Risk Costs Oldham Manufacturer
Plastic Shoes Protect Toddler From Electric Shock
A national newspaper recently reported how having a pair of plastic shoes saved a three-year old boy from an electric shock.
The three year old was with his mother on a visit to a leisure centre near their home in South Ockendon, Essex, when a faulty hairdryer in a swimming pool changing room caused the boy to receive a massive electric shock.
Fortunately the little boy was wearing Croc plastic shoes, and although he suffered damage to his clothing and a small exit burn, medics believe the footwear acted as insulators by stopping the electricity passing into the ground.
A spokesperson for the leisure centre said that all electrical equipment is inspected regularly and there did not appear to be any damage on the unit on the day.
A safety inquiry is being carried out by Thurrock Council.
Plastic Shoes Protect Toddler From Electric Shock
BS7671 iee Wiring Regulations changes colour in 2012
Those in the electrical community may already be aware of the 17th edition wiring regulations (known by many as the red book).
The red book is soon to be no more as although the BS7671 iee wiring regulations are not becoming the 18th edition they are adding a new series of amendments aptly named, amendments No.1 2011,which has prompted a reprint to a green book.
What are the amendments to bs7671 iee wiring regulations?
The amendments include the addition of a number of new sections which can be seen below:
New section 444 Measures against electromagnetic disturbances equipment which can cause a electromagnetic change such as fluorescent lighting, lifts, transformers are subject to this amendment recommending avoidance near IT equipment.
New section 534 Devices for protection against over voltage. Selection of surge protection devices (SPD) requires surge protection for sensitive equipment such as computers.
New section 710 Medical locations this puts a heavier emphasis on ensuring the safety of medical equipment and those subject to the equipment, including life support machines, operating theatres, etc.
New section 729 Operating or maintenance gangways this section requires adequate safety is taken into account in maintenance areas.
The new measures will also form part of the replacement for the Periodic Inspection Report
Appendix 6 New model forms for certification and reporting this covers the new Electrical Installation condition Report (EICR) which supersedes the Periodic Inspection Report (PIR).
Those who have already completed any training in bs7671 iee wiring regulations or 17th edition qualifications will not be required to retrain be must be aware of the changes. The new changes are due to come into effect from January 2012.
Look out on this news for further explanation of the changes as we approach the new year
In the aftermath of a tragic fire, the Electrical Safety Council has teamed up with the Association of Residential Managing Agents and a number of other organisations to produce a new guide promoting electrical safety in the communal areas of residential properties in England and Wales.
The ESC, a charity, was approached by ARMA after concerns were raised in the wake of several high-profile electrical incidents, including a fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, London, in July 2009 which resulted in the deaths of six people, including a mother and her three-week-old daughter.
The fire, which was caused by an electrical fault in a television in a ninth-floor flat, spread rapidly to other floors of the residential block.
An investigation drew attention to the level of fire protection provided for the communal areas, in particular to the inadequate maintenance of fire doors, emergency lighting and ventilation grilles, and to the fact that there was no emergency escape plan.
The new ESC guide aims to raise awareness of the legal obligations relating to electrical safety in the ‘common parts’ of residential buildings by providing detailed guidance and advice on areas such as staircases, hallways, landings and boiler rooms.
‘Electrical safety in communal areas of residential properties’ is available to download free from the ESC industry website:
New electrical safety guide for agents
Dell recalls 4.1 million notebook computer batteries
4.1 million Sony lithium-ion batteries used in Dell notebook computers were recalled because of a fire risk. The recall follows a series of pictures posted on the internet of a laptop in flames.
Sony lithium-ion batteries were used in Dell notebook computers between April 2004 and July 2006. Models effected include the Latitude, Inspiron, XPS and Precision notebook models. According to a Dell spokesperson, it affects about 15% of the batteries the company sold in that period.
The full list of affected laptops is available at www.dell batteryprogram.com. Customers, whose battery identification numbers match those being recalled, will be automatically connected to a free replacement order form. People unable to access the internet can call a free phone number 0800 3033 4044 between 8am to 6pm.
A Langford mushroom farm workers arm was broken in two places when he was dragged into a net cleaning machine, a court in North Somerset has heard.
Krysztof Moskalik, 32, from Poland, was using the machine for the first time while working for Drimbawn (UK) Ltd, part of the Monaghan Mushrooms Group, when the incident occurred on 18 November 2010.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Drimbawn after investigating the incident. North Somerset Magistrates Court heard Mr Moskalik was using a specialist washing machine to clean the nets used to cover the mushroom beds at the farm. The nets were fed through the machine to be washed, but the clamping mechanism which held them in place as they went in was ineffective.
HSE discovered safety devices were deliberately removed to allow workers to hold the nets in place by hand as the machine was running, with the safety cover open. This practice had become customary at the farm.
Using the same method as his colleagues, Mr Moskalik guided the net into the machine but within moments his hand got entangled in the dangerous moving part and his arm was dragged into the rotating mechanisms. He suffered a double break to his arm and extensive soft tissue damage.
In addition to the safety devices on the machine being disabled and the practice of operators holding the net in place while the machine was running, HSE also found Mr Moskalik had received no training for using the machine.
Speaking after sentencing, HSE inspector, Christine Haberfield said:
"Mr Moskalik suffered a severe injury and, nine months on, he is still not in a position to return to work.
"Machines of all sizes can cause serious injury if not used correctly. By disabling the safety mechanisms on this machine and allowing workers to feed it by hand, Drimbawn not only failed Mr Moskalik but all the other workers who used the machine and who could also have easily been injured.
"It is vital that safety devices on machines are used and checked to make sure they work properly all the time, and that anyone operating them is trained beforehand so that they know how to use them safely.
Drimbawn (UK) Ltd of Stock Lane, Langford, North Somerset, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 9 (1) and 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £32,000 with £3,624.59 in costs.
Notes to editors
1.The Health and Safety Executive is Britains national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
2.Regulations 9 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: Every employer shall ensure that all persons who use work equipment have received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.
3.Regulations 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: "Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken which are effective-
a.to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or
b.to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone
Langford mushroom firm fined after worker's arm crushed
Swift PAT takes on UK Compliance Testing
UK Compliance Testing is now under new ownership by Swift PAT LTD.
The Company and clients will be serviced by SWIFT PAT Limited.
All existing appointments will be kept and clients should expect no change to the service they have received previously.
The website www.ukcompliancetesting.com will now direct you to Swift PAT.
Free PAT Seminars Explore New IET Code of Practice
Seaward is hosting a series of free breakfast seminars on the new fourth edition of the IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.
The seminar will explain the changes in the new Code and how it will affect those involved in PAT testing or with a responsibility to ensure a safe working environment. Topics to be covered will include a risk based-approach to testing, the implications for fixed appliances, what to do about hired equipment and what it means for landlords.
Februarys seminar schedule is as below and more dates will follow soon.
Tues 5th Feb 2013 Exeter
Weds 6th Feb 2013 Cardiff North
Tues 12th Feb 2013 Banbury
Weds 13th Feb 2013 Daventry
Tues 19th Feb 2013 Birmingham (near to the NEC)
Weds 20th Feb 2013 Peterborough (Norman Cross)
Tues 26th Feb 2013 Chester South
Weds 27th Feb 2013 Carlisle
Each seminar begins at 8.30am and free refreshments are provided.
For more details or to book a place go to www.seaward.co.uk/seminars