Portable Appliance Testing why do it

Portable Appliance Testing why do it , In the work place all portable electrical equipment should be subject to ‘User Checks’ carried out by a competent person. As an employer its very important to protect people in premises that you control from electric shock, fire and other hazards. Its also very important to protect yourself and your company from prosecution should an accident occur which is not your fault.

The examples shown in this blog were all identified by Veriserv engineers and demonstrate how your employees could negatively effect safety in your workplace. In other words, employees who ignore the basic principles of electrical safety could land you and others in trouble.

The first example of portable appliance testing why do it, shows a standard 13amp plug where the fuse has been replaced with a peace of metal bar. A correctly rated fuse will blow if the portable appliance develops a fault. This in turn protects the user from potential electric shock and would prevent the possibility of the appliance overheating and causing a fire.

Portable Appliance Testing why do it 13amp plug with bolt as fuse

Someone has deliberately replaced the fuse with the bar which is totally irresponsible, given that the appliance is no longer protected at the rated 13 amps. Given the size of the cables it may be that the appliance itself should be connected by a different means to a 13 amp plug. A competent portable appliance test engineer will check ratings and advise accordingly and a veriserv engineer would also disconnect the appliance and issue an immediate report to advise our customer.

This second example was found plugged in and switched on with live conductors showing.

Portable Appliance Testing why do it exposed live conductors

Again this is an example where it would be clear to a responsible person that this extension lead is not fit for use.

The third example is another broken extension lead being used in service which clearly exposes people to an electric shock hazard.

Portable Appliance Testing why do it, broken live extension lead

Both faults were found by Veriserv engineers during annual portable appliance testing (PAT) and these examples reinforce the importance of maintaining a proper testing regime to protect people in your premises.

Ideally, equipment which has an obvious visual fault should be switched off and taken out of service by an employee or person acting responsibly in the workplace. Only very basic health & Safety training is required to achieve this.

In any event, in the workplace it should not be acceptable for a defect to go unnoticed, therefore the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) recommend that formal visual inspections are undertaken periodically by a competent person to identify these hazardous items.

All Veriserv PAT engineers are qualified to the City & Guilds 2377 Level 3 award in the in service inspection and testing of electrical equipment (PAT)

If you need advice on Portable Appliance Testing please feel free to request a quotation or call Veriserv directly on: 01543 225306.

Useful References:

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) publish guidance for the maintenance of portable appliances

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provide useful guidance on Portable Appliance Testing

IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment Chapter 15.8

Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Regulation 5
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Regulation 4(1)

If you need advice on Portable Appliance Testing please feel free to request a quotati

Snake perishes in electrical consumer unit incident

Snake perishes in electrical consumer unit incident – This “incident” may be creative license however the dead snake was found by a Veriserv engineer whilst carrying out a routine electrical fixed wire inspection and test at a domestic property. Although this is a rare situation we would like to highlight the more serious issue of how a domestic consumer unit can be susceptible to fire, particularly if not electrically inspected and tested periodically.

Snake in Electrical Consumer Unit

It wasn’t clear from the remains of the snake whether or not it had died directly from an electric shock or from starvation whilst in the electrical consumer unit , but it was clear that it had been in there for quite some time. When it was shown to the tenant living at the property he said that his pet snake had mysteriously disappeared two years earlier and had never been found, so this did explain where the snake had come from.

We would like to raise the more serious issue about consumer units generally and how fires can be prevented by periodic electrical inspection and testing. Consumer units can be the source of a fire caused by overheating of loose terminals, faulty or incorrectly rated breakers, and debris inside the enclosure can be a source of fuel for a fire to start, such as loose paper or other flammable materials.

Here is an example of overheating in a distribution board, again found by a veriserv engineer whilst carrying out a periodic mains fixed wire test.

overheating electrical distribution board - Veriserv

Most domestic consumer units are made of plastic and a recent update to the 17th edition wiring regulations calls for all consumer units to be constructed using a non combustible enclosure.

The third amendment to BS 7671:2011 (IET Wiring Regulations Seventeenth Edition), includes a new regulation requiring consumer units and similar switch gear assemblies in domestic premises to have a non-combustible enclosure. More information can be found by visiting the Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET).

More useful information can be found by visiting the NICIEC website.

Chapter 42 of the regulations states;

Due to the number of consumer unit fires reported within domestic premises, Regulation 421.1.201 (UK only) has been added and requires  consumer units and similar switchgear to have their enclosure manufactured from non-combustible material or be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure constructed of non-combustible material and complying with Regulation 132.12. This regulation was implemented on 1st January 2016 to allow manufacturers time to ensure an adequate supply of suitable cabinets or enclosures would be available.

For more fire safety advise check the “Fire Kills” gov.uk website

To book a mains electrical inspection and test, or fire risk assessment please call Veriserv on 01543 225306 or complete our inquiry form.

Risk of electric shock with exposed live terminals

The exposed live terminals , were found by a Veriserv engineer whilst carrying out a routine electrical fixed wire inspection and test  at a commercial property. Although this fault was found in a plant room where there is no public access, to workers it poses a significant risk of electric shock with exposed live terminals.

category 1 electrical fault - Veriserv

The engineer effected an immediate temporary repair to make this safe, by covering the exposed live terminals and open terminal box with insulating tape to prevent anyone touching the terminals.

The fault was then formally reported to the customer on a Veriserv “immediate” report which would be signed by the customer to acknowledge the fault and act as a hard copy reminder to facilitate a remedial repair. The “immediate report” is a useful way of immediately notifying a customer of all faults found during the fixed wire inspection and test by noting the category of faults helping our customer understand how to prioritise the remedial repairs. All category 1 faults such as this would need immediate rectification or temporary repair, otherwise the circuit would need to be isolated to make safe until a repair can be completed. All Veriserv engineers would provide expert advice and recommendation whilst on site. This is important as the full inspection & test report would follow later. If you need advise please call us on 01543 225306 or complete an Contact us form.

The Electricity at work regulations 1989 sit under the Health & Safety at work act 1974 and impose duties on employers and “duty holders” in respect to electrical systems, electrical equipment and conductors.

The purpose of the regulations is to is to prevent death or personal injury to any person from electrical causes in connection with work activities.

Employers and self employed people must comply with the provisions of the Electricity at work regulations 1989. Regulation 4 (2) states that as necessary to prevent danger , all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent , so far as reasonably practicable , such danger.

A duty holder can demonstrate compliance with the regulations, in respect to their electrical installation, by carrying out an electrical fixed wire inspection and test. As Veriserv are an NICEIC accredited company, we are experts in this area and are happy to advise you on the frequency, scope and cost of the test, having first considered the environment and use of the premises concerned.

If you need advise please call us on 01543 225306 or complete a Contact us form.

 

Portable Appliance Testing, Overheated Plug Socket

One good reason to have your portable appliance testing (PAT) carried out. Our fault of the week is a good example of a multi socket electrical extension lead that has become overheated with early signs of burning.

Burnt Extension Socket
Veriserv Fault of the Week

This fault was found by a Veriserv engineer during an annual portable appliance test (PAT) . The socket has become overheated. This could be caused by a loose connection or as a result of supplying an appliance which uses power in excess of the extension leads recommended maximum limit. Most extension leads of this type are rated at 13 amps so this means you should not plug more than one 13amp appliance into the extension socket at the same time. Multiple appliances should be rated at 5 amps.

The plug which connected to the overheated socket is shown below.

burnt 13 amp plug

It is important that all appliances are fitted with a fuse which is correctly rated for the appliance it powers. A new portable appliance will already be fitted with a sealed plug and correctly rated fuse. The plug shown in this photo is the type that has probably been fitted at a later date. It is important that the fuse rating is checked during the portable appliance test. Veriserv engineers would check this during the test and replace if necessary.

As a result of the PAT test by Veriserv the overheated extension lead and plug would be taken out of service and reported immediately to our customer.

In the work place all portable electrical equipment should be subject to  ‘User Checks’ however in this case it seems the deterioration of this piece of equipment has gone unnoticed. Ideally in this situation, as soon as any damaged is noticed the piece of equipment should be switched off and taken out of service.

In any event, in the workplace it should not be acceptable for a defect to go unnoticed, therefore the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) recommend that formal visual inspections are undertaken periodically by a competent person to identify these hazardous items.

All Veriserv PAT engineers are qualified to the City & Guilds 2377 Level 3 award in the in service inspection and testing of electrical equipment (PAT) 

If you need advice on Portable Appliance Testing please feel free to request a quotation or call Veriserv directly on: 01543 225306.

Useful References:

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) publish guidance for the maintenance of portable appliances

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provide useful guidance on Portable Appliance Testing  

IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment Chapter 15.8

Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Regulation 5
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Regulation 4(1)

If you need advice on Portable Appliance Testing please feel free to request a quotation or call Veriserv directly on: 01543 225306.

Overheated RCBO terminals could cause a fire

Burnt out RCBO

Our “fault of the week” blog posts are all real electrical fault situations that have been reported by Veriserv engineers whilst carrying out Inspection & Testing of electrical installations at client sites. This fault is an RCBO (residual current breaker with overcurrent) that has become overheated and burnt.

This C1 electrical defect is a result of a loose connection causing arcing at the RCBO terminal. Not only would this lead to a failure in the RCBO and electrical circuit, there would also be a serious threat of fire should the melted plastic ignite in some way.

The Veriserv engineer would immediately isolate this circuit and report the defect to the client on what we call an “immediate report”. This so the client is aware of any defects prior to the engineer leaving site. The RCBO and adjoining cable would be replaced if the client requested that Veriserv carry out the remedial repair.

Overheated RCBO terminals could cause a fire, this fault would be classed as a C1 Fail Code -Danger Present. Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989-Reg 4(2) state “The need for maintenance to be done to ensure safety”.  As such all commercial premises must be electrically tested and certified to ensure they can continue to be used safety.

BS7671 wiring regulations to the latest edition sets out the requirements for all electrical installations in the UK. The Institute of Engineers and Technology (IET) produce guidance notes to enlarge on the wiring regulations and set out guidance on how compliance can be achieved. Guidance Note 3 covers the Inspection & testing of Electrical Installations.

An electrical installation should be periodically inspected by a qualified electrical engineer. Veriserv are experts in this field and will advise any customer who may be unsure of the periodicity or scope of the Inspection & Test. Veriserv will issue an electrical certificate and report to their customer with a statement as to the condition of the electrical installation. Click here for more details.

 

Exposed electrical supply in burnt out lamp post

image2

Our “fault of the week” posts are published to show the sort of dangerous electrical faults that our Veriserv engineers are finding every day of the week whilst carrying out routine electrical inspection & testing at our customer’s premises. Exposed electrical supply and burnt out wiring & control gear was found within this lamp post.

We hope that in posting examples we will raise more awareness and hopefully this will lead to fewer electric shocks and electrical fires

In this example the dark nights just got darker for this public entertainments area in the Black Country. Exposed electrical supply and burnt out wiring & control gear was found within this lamp post during the planned electrical inspection by Veriserv. On closer inspection though, there was considerable damage within the lamp post as the incoming supply cable was still found to be live. Immediate action is called for when a defect like this is identified, particularly so when the equipment is situated in a publicly accessible area.

In this instance the Veriserv engineer isolated the lamp post at the supply origin, notified the site contact and investigated other lamp posts to identify if the defect has occurred elsewhere.

It’s a legal requirement for any property owner to provide a safe place for persons within a public accessible area. To satisfy this requirement suitable and proper inspection and maintenance must be carried out at regular intervals. Veriserv are specialists in the areas of Electrical Inspection & Testing and Fire Alarm Testing & Maintenance.

electric shock sign

Electric shocks are generally more dangerous as the voltage increases however in the UK all mains voltages supplying your home or company premises are sufficient to kill or inflict a serious injury.An electric shock can cause;

    • the heart to stop or beating properly
    • the person to stop breathing properly
    • muscle spasms
    • electrical burns
    • an electrical fire

More information can be found by visiting the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) website.

There are electrical standards and approved codes of practice, the details of which can again be found on the HSE website.

 

Light fitting with exposed live electrical parts!

Light Fitting exposed parts

Our “fault of the week” posts are published to show the sort of dangerous electrical faults that our Veriserv engineers are finding every day of the week whilst carrying out routine electrical inspection & testing at our customer’s premises. This light fitting had exposed live electrical parts.
We hope that in posting examples like this, we will raise more awareness and hopefully this will lead to fewer electric shocks and electrical fires.

During a routine electrical inspection & test a Veriserv engineer found this light fitting with exposed live electrical parts.

At an initial glance a casual observer may think that the connecting terminals visible on this fluorescent light fitting are possibly for future use and are otherwise dormant. However, when investigated by the Veriserv engineer, a voltage measurement identified 230 Volts between the Line (Live) terminal and earth. The fittings were placed at around 8 feet high so in normal use it is unlikely that any person would come in to contact with them.

During maintenance however, such as changing a tube, the possibility of direct contact is very likely causing the inevitable electric shock that could be even more serious due to a likely fall from height!

To rectify the defect fully an “end cap” is required that will cover the terminals. The cap is not immediately available from a wholesaler therefore the Veiserv engineer made the fitting safe to enable the remaining lighting to be used and not affect the occupancy of the building.

Useful Health & Safety information and advise can be found by visiting the Heath & Safety Executive website.

Remember Electric Shocks can kill or injure by;

preventing the heart beating properly
preventing the person breathing properly
cause severe muscle spasms
cause electrical burns
start an electrical fire

Electrical Standards and Approved Codes of Practice can be found on the Health & Safety Executive website.  

It’s a legal requirement for any property owner to provide a safe place of work for employees or for persons within a public accessible area. To satisfy this requirement suitable and proper inspection and maintenance must be carried out at regular intervals. Veriserv are specialists in the areas of Electrical Inspection & Testing and Fire Alarm Testing & Maintenance. We can take the worry from you by providing a no obligation survey and advising you on the most appropriate course of action. Feel free to contact us by phone or on line form.

 

Loose cable connections can be more dangerous than you think

How safe is your property? Are you sure work has been done correctly, and do you have your electrics tested regularly? Just a few loose cable connections could of meant serious danger for this person.

loose cable connections

The attached photo shows burning and heat damage forming within a consumer unit. This fault was caused by a loose or poor cable connection and luckily was spotted by a Veriserv engineer, and was able to be repaired.

The power from the consumer unit was still live and working, so may not have seemed a problem for the customer, but you can clearly see the potential fire risk that can increase within a property without inspections. This is a problem that could have escalated extremely quickly, and would have been more than just an inconvenience, it could have been life threatening.

During periodic inspections, Veriserv engineers test and physically check for loose cable connections, as well as any other technical faults, which as you can see is a valuable service.

Our mission is to provide every single customer with an outstanding service that is fit for purpose and delivered by experts to reduce risk. As you can see from our other faults of the week, regular visits from a professional can cut down the risk of electrical faults, fire and disrupted security, to you and your workplace.

So if you know you are due a service, or have some concerns about your premises, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free assessment of your premises, with one of our fully trained engineers.

 

Faulty AC Adapters Exposing Live Terminals at 230V

AC adapters & chargers are commonplace in every workplace nowadays, whether used for mobile phones or supplying certain IT equipment. So Faulty AC Adapters are beginning to become a problem.

Faulty AC Adapters charger split casing

This week, we have again identified a safety issue that can occur with some of these appliances. Most of these items are constructed from two halves of a molded casing which are glued & sometimes screwed together. Occasionally however this fixing can fail leading to the casing coming apart and causing a faulty AC adapters exposing live terminals at 230V potential.

Faulty AC Adapters LC Racing Charger

Of the three photographs, the unit laid out in two pieces failed the first time the item was removed from the wall socket. This charger was actually a replacement for another unit that had failed in the same way!
Faulty AC Adapters Power Supply Adaptor Split Casing

Veriserv would recommend caution for any chargers or AC adapters used in the workplace that are not an original equipment manufacturer part, as they could be potentially harmful. We would advise staying with the manufacturers parts where possible, and taking care of your appliances.

Our mission is to provide every single customer with an outstanding service that is fit for purpose and delivered by experts to reduce risk. As you can see from our other faults of the week, regular visits from a professional can cut down the risk of electrical faults, fire and disrupted security, to you and your workplace.

So if you know you are due a service, or have some concerns about your premises, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free assessment of your premises, with one of our fully trained engineers.

 

Male connector fitted with exposed terminals

Can you see a problem with this? Would you spot the dangers of exposed terminals?

exposed terminals

The plug, the flex and the three-pin connector all look to be in perfect condition don’t they? However, this lead could quite literally be lethal.

It appears that someone has unwittingly, maybe during a momentary lapse of concentration fitted a “male” connector with exposed terminals on the end of a 13-amp plug, now imagine this plugged into a socket outlet with those exposed terminals at the end and suddenly it no longer looks quite so innocent.

A Veriserv engineer found and removed this from a site this week emphasising the need to be extra vigilant for such seemingly innocent and yet very dangerous pieces of “DIY” equipment.

The IET recommend that formal visual inspections be undertaken periodically by a competent person to identify these hazardous items.

Our mission is to provide every single customer with an outstanding service that is fit for purpose and delivered by experts to reduce risk. As you can see from our other faults of the week, regular visits from a professional can cut down the risk of electrical faults, fire and disrupted security, to you and your workplace.

So if you know you are due a service, or have some concerns about your premises, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free assessment of your premises, with one of our fully trained engineers.

 

 

Information for Reference

IET- Institution for Engineering Technology

Regulations

Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

Electricity at Work Regulations 1989