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reported fires that were electrical in origin in business premises, the reported losses totalled over £178 million, with an average loss per incident of over £51,000.

Other Safety Implications Regular electrical appliance inspection and testing is also becoming one of the main ways in which dangerous counterfeit electrical equipment is identified. The website reports that over 15 million counterfeit products have been seized and destroyed in the period 2001 to 2013 – and the number is growing monthly.

Of course it is not only counterfeit electrical equipment that can pose a safety or fire risk. Genuine products from legitimate sources can sometimes be unsafe and become the subject of product recall notices by manufacturers. In recent years, this potential problem has been exacerbated by failings in the product recall system. The safety charity Electrical Safety First has warned that millions of potentially dangerous recalled electrical products are thought to remain in use due to a worryingly low recall success rate.

In these situations, by implementing regular and systematic inspection and testing of electrical appliances used in the workplace, portable appliance testing provides an effective safeguard against the risks posed by the use of potentially dangerous equipment.

Valuable Contribution

to Safety The EAWR 1989, along with the HSE Memorandum of Guidance and successive IET Codes of Practice, have consistently provided sound advice based on industry experience and the electrical safety needs of the business community. More recently the new emphasis on a common sense approach to testing has also been useful in helping to

generate a better understanding of portable appliance testing.

As we move forward, recent changes have proven that adequate electrical safety measures can be effectively maintained without the imposition of an overly excessive test regime.

To meet current best practice guidance for electrical appliance testing, modern handheld PAT testers are portable and lightweight and include all the recommended safety tests.

The latest generation of Apollo PATs offer a comprehensive electrical test capability combined with a host of other features to meet the updated technical requirements of the IET Code of Practice and comply with the risk-based approach now being emphasised by the HSE.

These benefits include an on board risk management tool to help determine re-test intervals and, in the most advanced models, a built-in digital camera is provided to enable high quality images to be stored in appliance test records.

Improvements in test management software has allowed records to be updated automatically, reports and certificates to be produced and advance test schedules to be generated.

Against the backdrop of 25 years of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, few could dispute that the process of electrical inspection and testing has made an important contribution to improving and maintaining safety in the workplace.

This article is extracted from a special White Paper, ‘The Preventative Role of Portable Appliance Testing – 25 years of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989’, available as a free download from

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