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Electrical Product Safety

Now that Right To Repair is enshrined in UK and EU law and UK Governments encouraging more Reuse & Repair and with Local Authorities engaging in Reuse from the Electrical Waste Stream, there is no doubt safety and Fire Prevention needs to be addressed. Particularly  because there is no evidence of Competence required and in effect, robots are following a Tick Box Protocol without any depth of knowledge, evidenced certification or qualifications in the process.

So therefore surely  most people would agree, we need to address safety for tenants and householders in the home, where these waste items are being placed back into the home.  Particularly in the Rented Sector, where Landlords do not even know if a Product Recall (Fire Risk) is entering their property.  Recently someone died in Swansea near our office, from a fire caused by an Appliance.  With research showing that the average costs of a fatality from a fire, costs £1.6m most of which is tax payers money, anyone receiving Government funding should be demonstrating due diligence in house building and retrofits.

We are already engaged with Dept of BEIS and the OPSS on this matter. We have a Qualification to roll out soon and can help create Qualified Repairers who could even be Tenants of a Housing Association as example of our innovation.  We believe we are the leaders in our field and can speak with authority and confidence on this.  PAT Testing associations already agree with us also.

So Part 1 of looking at PAT Testing, starts with understanding some basics, which we hope you see will be relevant to our opening statements.

The type of test applied when PAT testing an appliance essentially depends of the electrical classification the appliance falls into. However, it is not always as simple as some believe it to be. Here we look at two Class 1 products a kettle and a modern electronically controlled washing machine. Kettles have changed little over the years but automatic washing machines along with other major whitegoods have internally changed quite a lot. Therefore depth of knowledge and practical experience of the product being tested becomes extremely important as this rather simple explanation hopes to illustrate

Opposite is a schematic diagram of the electrical circuit of a standard kettle and it shows the operating circuit the appliance mains lead connects to. The following is only considering the ‘Insulation Resistance’ test of the PAT test procedure in order to illustrate the need for knowledge and practical experience of product when testing appliances.

When a Class 1 appliance is correctly connected to a PAT tester for the insulation test i.e. plugged into the three pin supply on the PAT test unit and the earth test lead connected to a suitable earth point on the appliance the test can begin (in this instance it would also require enough water added to the kettle to cover the element (as a dry element could give a false reading).

When the PAT tester applies the required insulation DC test voltage (for a 230 AC volt appliance this will be 500 volts DC) they will (should) ensure that the On/Off switch of the appliance is in the On position so as to ensure that the test voltage reaches the internal components that are after the On/Off switch. In this instance the heating element.

Interestingly it can be seen in this instance that the appliance only has a single switch on the ‘live’ supply to the circuit the therefore a test reading could still be obtained even if the On/Off switch was not closed . Although this would not constitute a professional approach to testing such products.