About 18 months ago, we highlighted our concerns about the number of power leads which are coming from abroad, but do not meet with current British Standards. They come with various pieces of equipment from laptop chargers to printers and, in many cases, have been supplied by reputable companies …
Safety Is Paramount So Check Your Leads
Of course you can find many replacement leads and chargers on various online shopping sites. They may look cheap, but is your life really worth saving a bit of money?
Over the past few weeks, there has been a surge in the number of these leads and chargers coming into the UK and they have made their way into use in various commercial premises that we’ve PAT tested recently.
Even the newspapers have been highlighting the concerns for these counterfeit goods causing damage to properties by fire. Some of these counterfeit leads finally got the fake British Standard kitemark ‘almost’ correct, but it’s the fuse that is a give away!
Not only do they look different (a 13 amp fuse should be brown) but there are some which are marked 13 amp and are, in fact, blue. They do not even have the Asta mark on them so they are a bit of a give away.
Using these leads are a major risk and potentially put your staff in danger of being electrocuted as in many cases, there is no Earth protection. Earthed – or grounded – means that the metal case of a product, be it a computer or a fridge, is wired to the Earth so that any electrical fault will short to Earth through the wiring and not the person touching it.
“Without that vital Earth protection in place via the power lead, there’s only one way the charge is going to go!”
At FTS, we’re very rigorous in our testing and always use the latest standards-certified and calibrated equipment to ensure we test every item in an office or factory. We are finding mains leads that have been sent out to companies with new equipment that don’t meet British Standards.
We immediately (and legally have to) fail them, but we will always recommend a reputable supplier where the client can get authentic leads that meet current UK standards.
Here are a few checks you can make, right now:
Is the manufacturer’s name ever so ‘slightly’ misspelt?
Is the Earth pin (the big one) partially insulated?
Are all of the pins the right length and chamfered correctly?
Does the fuse look right & have the relevant standards markings?
Is the internal insulation and cable thickness what you’re used too?
If you have any doubts at all, stop using it!
If you’re at all in doubt about the authenticity of the cables at your office or premises, then do get in touch with us on 0330 660 0264 and we’d be happy to advise you.
Until next time …
If you’re not sure, we could arrange a free, no-obligation site survey to cover the entire electrical health and safety needs of your premises.