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Electrical Safety at Work

Figures quote that there are about 1000 accidents each year at work which involve electric shock or burns. Of these 1000, 30 of them are fatal.

However, the non-fatal accidents should not be underestimated and even these can cause severe and permanent injury to people.

The possible problems that could occur to cause injury or death from electricity include the following:

  • Contact with live parts
  • Faults
  • Fire or explosion

The risk of any of these happening is greatly reduced when risk assessments are carried out and measures are put in place to control the possibility of these incidents occurring.

Risk assessments should be the first step in controlling potential electrical accidents and these can:

  • Identify any hazard
  • Determine who is at greatest risk
  • Evaluate these risks
  • Evaluate existing precautions and suggest more if required

Certain workplaces and circumstances will automatically increase the danger of electrical accidents and potential problems. These could include places which are wet, places which are enclosed and small, or which deal with hazardous conditions and equipment.

Following a risk assessment, the findings can identify any possible areas which need to be addressed to reduce the risk of electrical accidents. Possible areas for improvement may include things like:

  • Electrical system upgrades and replacements
  • Ensuring that maintenance of electrical systems and appliances takes place
  • Preventing socket overloading
  • Ensuring all appliances are safe for use

This is only a sample of the many ways improvements could be made. However, each environment should be taken on an individual basis and improvements made to suit that particular workplace.

Alongside carrying out risk assessments and improving areas following this, regular maintenance and precautions should be a matter of standard when dealing with electrical systems and equipment.

For further information on electrical safety at work see the HSE website and the ESC website who have a wealth of information on the subject.

Written by Sara Thomson

Jobs for the Girls Campaign Still Strong

The recession has caused unemployment figures to rise, and amongst women in particular there are now 1.1 million unemployed.

This alongside recent research which reveals that women are feeling under-valued in the workplace and overshadowed by male colleagues make the ‘Jobs for the Girls’ campaign all the more important.

The campaign was set up by NICEIC and aims to get more women into the electrical industry and to improve figures of female electrical workers, which currently stand at approximately one in every one thousand electricians.

Now, with research revealing that women are still disadvantaged in the workplace and more than half admitting feeling that inequality has worsened since the recession began,  the campaign to encourage women into the electrical industry couldn’t be more relevant and important to the electrical industry and female employment as a whole.

However, an encouraging trend has emerged which promises that the unequal balance in the electrical industry may be starting to shift, as two thirds of 16-24 year old women have reported of their preference in learning a skilled trade rather than a profession, and 35% of these said that becoming an electrician is of most interest to them. This figure was the highest of all of the skilled trades reported as being of interest to the women.

So with NICEIC and Dragon’s Den star Hilary Devey continuing to support the Jobs for the Girls campaign, alongside the hope that this trend towards the electrical industry continues, it is anticipated that more women will be encouraged to take the leap into the electrical industry and not see it as a purely male profession.

Written by Sara Thomson website loading test

Electricians Look up

Recent research into the state of the industry revealed that electrical contractors and electricians are optimistic about their businesses for the future and they are looking forward positively at the coming months.

Almost three quarters of those taking part in the survey admitted that the recession and difficult economic climate had impacted on their businesses, but two thirds said they were very optimistic about their prospects for 2013.

One of the reasons for this optimism is revealed as being energy efficiency. Contractors have revealed that almost half of all their customers and clients are now requesting energy saving devices and energy saving lighting solutions along with other services.

It seems that the public are now more in tune with energy efficiency than ever and with Government schemes such as Green Deal now well underway, electricians are finding that their business prospects are looking up.

However, a smaller percentage of those surveyed revealed that the biggest problem they find is clients and customers paying their bills late.

So although the market is looking up for the electrical industry, late payers are still a concern.

Written by Sara Thomson

Two Pets Killed by a Faulty Dishwasher

Recent reports hit the national news of a kitchen fire which killed two family pets. The family themselves were unhurt but the fire, which destroyed their kitchen, was started by an electrical fault in their dishwasher which had been reported to the manufacturer.

Their particular model of dishwasher was recalled along with 632,000 others due to a potential overheating issue in the control panel.

The local fire service reported that they have been called out to three incidents involving Bosch dishwashers in the last few months alone.

The issue affects dishwashers manufactured between 1999 and 2005, however Bosch admitted that they have so far only managed to trace 163,000 of the affected models.

Recent years have seen a vast number of manufacturers issuing recalls for various products and models of varying household electrical items.

Reports into such cases admit that it is notoriously difficult to trace appliances sold, especially if the recall affects products manufactured over a number of years such as is the case with the Bosch dishwasher recall.

Written by Sara Thomson ebay uk site down .

Counterfeit Plug Campaign by PlugSafe

The flood of counterfeit and unsafe electrical plugs in the UK in recent years is being highlighted by a special electrical safety initiative called PlugSafe.

The campaign team manage an information portal updated and handled by a group of voluntary professional electrical engineers, who also work alongside other industry bodies to stand against the safety threats posed by these faulty electrical appliances.

Those dangers already highlighted by the group include counterfeit fuses and plugs which have been marked with BS1363 but are still fraudulent.

The group have found that despite the Plug and Socket Safety Regulations, passed in 1994 to remove the amount of counterfeit and dangerous plugs being sold to consumers, a considerable amount of these dangerous items are still being sold in the UK and online to unsuspecting consumers.

Commonly, counterfeit plugs deviate from the BS1363 requirements which state that all power pins, i.e. the shorter pins, are partially insulated and earth pins must be solid brass, or plastic for those intended for use with non earthed devices.

The group are currently looking for user experiences with counterfeit plugs and cables and are interested in any kind of issues with sparking, melting and burning.

If you have had any experience with counterfeit plugs, either in your professional or personal life, visit the PlugSafe site and contact them with your story.

Written by Sara Thomson

Do you Encourage use of the Home Safety App?

Did you know that ESC has a free Home Electrical Safety Check app?

The app was launched a little while ago now and aims to help consumers carry out simple visual checks in their homes.

Available for both Android and Apple products, the app can be simply and easily downloaded for a quick handy guide for non electrical people.

Designed to be straight forward for non-electricians to understand, the app goes through and highlights potential dangers in every room of a property and explains how to solve non technical, simple problems.

If the consumer using the app, discovers a serious problem, they are advised to use a registered electrician to fix the issue.

The app is part of the ESC’s aim to reduce the figures of 70 deaths and 350,000 serious injuries each year in the UK due to electrical accidents or misuse of electrics and appliances. Fires started by electrical issues and misuse currently stand at 21,000 each year.

ESC hope that through consumers using this app and electrical industry professionals encouraging its use, it will address the complacency which surrounds electricity and reduce these figures.

The app is very interactive and comes with visual and written guidance to ensure that it is as user friendly and simple to use as possible.

Written by Sara Thomson

Refresh Extension Lead Testing

To test an extension lead is pretty straight forward, however many people still find it confusing.

These days, it’s common for some PAT testing machines to have an IEC lead test facility which makes it easier to carry out tests on leads as all that is required is to plug in both ends of the lead and test earth continuity, insulation resistance and polarity.

However, depending on your PAT machine, you may need an adaptor or a short IEC lead which is made up of an IEC plug on one end and a 13A plug on the other.

To carry out the extension lead test simply follow the instructions below.

Once you have finished your visual inspection and are satisfied that the lead has passed this particular stage, it’s time to plug the 13A plug into the 13A socket on the tester, then plug the IEC plug from the IEC adaptor into the IEC socket of the tester, then connect the 13A plug on the short IEC lead into the end 13A socket.

It’s important at this stage that you plug this into the socket furthest away from mains lead end. This is done to ensure that the full length of the Buss Bars are tested. These are important as they connect all the pins in the socket together.

Then it is a case of carrying out the lead test with an earth continuity test, an insulation test and a polarity test.

The polarity test is carried out to identify whether the Line and Neutral are reversed. It’s a common misconception that it doesn’t matter whether the Line and Neutral are reversed, but this is in fact wrong and is very important that they are the correct way around. If they are reversed, i.e. the wrong way around, the switch and fuse are in the neutral leg, which means that the appliance is live even when switched off and if a fault develops on the appliance the fuse will not blow in this situation which is likely to lead to a fire.

Although not required, it’s always good to use a socket tester to prove the remaining sockets on the extension lead. To do this you need to unplug the extension lead after the PAT test has been completed and plug it into a mains socket, then plug the socket tester into the remaining sockets one at a time on the extension lead to ensure that all sockets on the lead are working correctly.

Written by Sara Thomson

Encourage Clients to Use the Product Recall Tool

With product recalls being in the news a lot recently, we thought it important to highlight the situation.

There have been a number of incidents involving recalled electrical products which have caught fire and some manufacturers are having difficulty tracing all of the recalled products sold.

Some public members are unaware that they are using faulty electrical equipment and carry on using appliances regardless.

However, it is important that those affected understand the dangers and understand how to find out if they possess a recalled product.

The Electrical Safety Council has, on their website, a product recall tool available for anyone to use. It is an advanced search tool which filters search results based on a number of criteria.

It’s very simple to use and can search via a number of different methods. The tool contains details of products recalled since 2007. If consumers search for a product which then comes up as not listed, this means that the product has not been recalled.

Encourage your clients and customers to use the tool to ensure that all their electrical products are safe and haven’t had recall notices placed on them. If more people are made aware of the danger of these faulty electrical appliances, the number of fires and other incidents should begin to fall.

Help businesses and consumers stay safe with electrical appliances by encouraging them to check out the ESC’s product safety recall tool.

Written by Sara Thomson

Electricians Encouraged to Give Safety messages

Those in the electrical industry can play a big part in helping to get the message out about electrical safety measures to the public, say the Electrical Safety Council.

They have been campaigning heavily recently to increase awareness of electrical safety issues after research and reports found that there was a general blasé attitude to electrical safety among the public.

And with figures currently standing at 70 deaths and 350,000 serious injuries every year due to electrical accidents, it’s important that these safety messages reach their target audience.

ESC say that the simple message electrical contractors can convey is to always use registered electrical contractors, upgrade to a consumer unit with RCD and get electrics and any relevant appliances checked regularly.

They have also produced a number of documents to help electrical contractors get the message out, including leaflets and web banners.

Also, there are free packs available, which give additional electrical safety advice, for electrical contractors to hand out to their clients and homeowners. Each pack contains 25 Electrical Safety Council Leaflets which will be useful to hand out to clients and those in need of electrical safety advice.

To get your hands on a pack visit the ESC website.

Written by Sara Thomson

The Electrical Contractor and Smart Tech

It seems that electrical contractors are now using smart technology a recent survey revealed, which claimed that 83% of electricians now use it as part of their daily work.

Not only this, but one quarter of those taking part in the survey said they would be lost without their technology which includes, laptops, ipads and smartphones. These new results highlight the changes which have taken place in the electrical industry in recent years and now reflect technological advancements and improvements.

What’s also interesting is that this technology is not only being used for convenience, it’s being used to help electrical contractors carry out their work. Two thirds of those surveyed admitted to ordering products online, downloading technical specifications direct to their computers and using smart technology to look for technical advice.

However, they did reveal that the biggest issue is the rise in legislation and the problems they have trying to stay up to date all the time.

Also, the rise in technical products has meant electrical contractors have needed to work much harder to keep up to date with new technology and have found Apps, which can provide quick access to product information and information on how products can meet legislation guidelines, have helped combat this issue.

This survey reveals that although things have been challenging for electrical contractors with the recent changes and updates, they are working hard to stay abreast of these changes and remain current and competent in their trade.

It also reveals that the use of smart technology is helping contractors to do this and is now becoming an integrated part of the electrical industry.

Written by Sara Thomson