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Electrical Safety and Portable Appliance Testing


Having worked in the PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) field for several years I have seen some astonishingly dangerous pieces of electrical equipment. Often this is down to poor awareness over the dangers of electricity. I’m writing this article to try and educate users to some of the dangers that can be found when using electrical goods and why faulty goods should always be repaired before further useJennair Appliance Repair Los Angeles.

In the UK alone around 1000 injuries occur due to electric shock every year, on average 30 of these will be fatal! This really shows that electricity needs to be taken seriously and is no laughing matter. Visit my site to view failed items found during PAT testing.

Below I have listed some of the most common bad electrical practices and why they can be dangerous:

Plugs without protective sleeves

Some older plugs don’t feature the protective sleeves on the phase and neutral pins of the plug. Basically this means that if you are plugging or un-plugging an appliance with this type of plug you are in danger of electric shock if you hold the plug incorrectly. If you look at a modern plug you can see the protective sleeves on the pins as a different colour to the metal at the end of the pins. I have seen protective sleeves that have been melted off a plug when overheating has occurred, if this has happened the plug may also have suffered internal damage.

Plugs rewired incorrectly

The most common fault when checking inside a plug is that the cable grip is either missing, loose or only clamping the individual insulation for the phase and neutral wires and not the insulation for the cable also. The cable grip is an important feature on plugs as a sharp tug could easily damage the wiring. Plugs that have been rewired incorrectly to the wrong polarity or are missing a connection to earth are less common but can still be a danger.

Fuses

Not only is it surprisingly common for the wrong fuse to be found when testing an appliance but occasionally I’ll find tin foil, a bolt or anything else that will conduct electricity in place of the fuse. Using the correct fuse for the equipment in use is very important as should a fault occur using the wrong fuse could be the difference between a blown fuse or an electrical fire / severe electric shock. When an item is protected by the wrong or no fuse in the event of fault it can draw many times more current than it should be able to. If the item is short circuiting this will create a huge amount of heat and a fire before very long at all.

Cable repairs

Badly repaired cables are surprisingly common on older appliances. I have often seen cables that have been cut and then repaired by twisting the phase and neutral cables together and covering in tape rather than using a designated cable connector. This is particularly dangerous as a poor connection will cause additional heat and if arcing occurs probably fire. Also if the children have access to the item they may well undo the tape and suffer electrocution or if strain was put on the cable it could split and expose the live cable.

Overloaded extension leads and splitters

It’s now common practice that splitters and extension cables get daisy chained to allow for more appliances to be used simultaneously. If higher wattage appliances are been used this will easily cause overheating. I have seen burnt out sockets on many splitters where the plastic has melted causing the protective shutters to no longer operate. Not only does this mean that if someone pushed an object in to the socket they could be electrocuted but the aperture for the overheated pin on that socket is often larger allowing for items to be inserted more easily.

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