Factoring in safety adds value for wholesalers and end users

What does safety really mean in the electric heating industry? Christian Hadley, Head of Product Marketing at Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation, examines the real value of safety testing, the issue of self-declaration – and why external certification can be key.

safety and the peace of mind afforded by safety certification. The Government has even set up a new code of


practice for consumer product recalls, PAS7100, which is designed to help companies plan and execute product recalls in light of recent issues. But what actually goes into a product safety

testing programme and how can wholesalers communicate the added value to their customers to share with their own customers?

CE Marking Like any product category, the level of testing undertaken by electric heating appliance manufacturers will vary from statutory requirements through to rigorous, external safety testing.

At the most basic level, it is a mandatory

requirement for electrical room heaters sold in the UK to meet the requirements of the safety regulation 60335-2-30 part 2, conformity of which is demonstrated by the application of the CE (Conformité Européene) mark. The introduction of BS: 60335 meant that all

products could be compared on a like-for-like basis, instead of installers, wholesalers and merchants having to try and compare from a range of alternative standards as they had previously. Plus, it gives consumers greater confidence in the safety of their purchase. However, there remains for some a question

over the credibility of CE Marking, not least because it is a self-administered system which does not always require additional independent testing for a product to be approved. The responsibility for carrying out the conformity assessment lies with the manufacturer themselves, which is why Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation believes manufacturers have a responsibility to gain independent verification of compliance in order to ensure the safety and performance of their products.

BEAB testing One way to do this is to undertake rigorous external testing through a third party organisation, such as the voluntary BEAB Approved Mark from Intertek. As one of the most stringent product testing routines in Europe, BEAB enables

The Government has set up a new code of practice for consumer product recalls, designed to help companies plan and execute product recalls in light of recent issues.

manufacturers – and in turn their distribution partners – to show their commitment to best practice, commitment to producing quality goods and commitment to the safety of customers. The Mark indicates that the product has been manufactured in an inspected factory, using accepted methods and that the product has been tested and assessed by Intertek. Products bearing the BEAB Approved Mark are also randomly checked by Intertek on an annual basis to offer complete peace of mind.

What price safety? Of course, additional safety testing comes at a cost to the manufacturer, a cost which is ultimately recouped through the added value of being seen to lead the industry for product safety and conformity. And likewise, for the wholesaler and their customers. There may well be cheaper (often imported) options available when specifying a new electric radiator, towel rail or convector heater, but as consumer awareness of safety testing increases, so too do the opportunities to add value and drive margins with rigorously tested, market leading models.

With safety, comes reassurance – and in most cases this is combined with the recognition of a brand name; one study from last year shows 71% of consumers are more likely to buy a product if they recognise the brand. Installers should not underestimate the trust and confidence that their customers place in household heating brands with years of heritage behind them.

What is best practice? The purpose of product safety testing is to assure consumers that what they are buying is safe and compliant with applicable safety requirements of the relevant country. A best product safety test can include, amongst many others, the following tests or inspections: ●Functional test – does it operate in the way it is meant to?

●Markings and instructions – looking at everything from location and size of labels to whether the symbols and values used are correct

●Construction and mechanical strength – a “test hammer” is applied to test impact resistance

●Continued over September 2018 electrical wholesaler | 15

onsumer awareness of product safety has never been higher, with customers more switched on to

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