Every employer has a duty of care to their employees to provide a safe working environment. Health and Safety legislation states that all electrical equipment in an office or workspace needs to be PAT tested to ensure it is safe. With so many appliances in all areas of the workplace, from phone charges to printers, failures in equipment are extremely common.

When we perform site visits around the UK there are common failures that arise time and again. How many of you know whether the microwave in your office kitchen is fit for use? It is important that you perform your own checks on appliances so you can quickly become aware of any failures that could be putting your staff at risk. Don’t just wait until we come to PAT test once a year.

So, what should you be looking out for?

Bare Wires

The first example of a common failure in the workplace is bare wires. This can occur on any lead that is connected to an appliance and mostly occurs when appliances are kept loosely on the floor or jammed into a floor box. The lead can get caught on sharp edges. Bare wires can also occur if an appliance is tugged around a lot, eventually causing the end to be exposed. An easy way to stop this occurring is to make sure all appliances are connected in a safe way, away from any potential dangers and not blocking any walkways where they could easily be tripped over. If floor boxes must be used, make sure that all leads are coming out of the appropriate area of the box so that the lead is not getting crushed.

To repair a bare wire, you can physically pull the lead from the plug end and try and get some scag to push the lead back into the appliance. If the bare wires are at the plug-top end, it is advised to get an appropriate engineer to take the plug-top apart and re-wire the lead.

Microwave failures

Issues with microwaves are common. Nearly every staff kitchen has a microwave in daily use. Therefore, it is important that it is safe to use. Microwave failures can come in a couple of different forms, with the most common being exposed rust. This is caused by users not keeping the door open after cooking something and the steam and condensation causing the paint to peel away. This reveals the bare metal underneath, thus causing it to rust. Once this occurs if someone carries on using the microwave it can start to spark and catch fire, or potentially leak the radiation used to cook food. This can occur on any part of the inside of the microwave and can be quite hard to spot on the inside of the door, as shown in the picture. The best way to solve this issue is to make sure all users keep the door of the microwave open after use to allow for the appliance to properly air. If your microwave has already rusted it is best to dispose of it in a proper manner and buy a new one.

Damaged fire extinguishers

This is an uncommon failure but we feel it is important to highlight the issue as a fire extinguisher failure can be dangerous. A failure such as the one on the photo below can happen if your fire extinguishers are not checked on a yearly basis. The timeframe for fire extinguisher testing is the same as PAT Testing, with annual checks required.

 

Equiptest can help with all your testing needs

It is paramount that every business and building has up-to-standard and properly working health and safety features. Luckily this is where we can help. We can ensure that all your appliances are safe for use, and that your business is following statutory compliance rules.  Check out our Instagram account for regular updates on what failures we have found with #failurefriday. This will help you make sure your workplace is safe for all.

A big advantage for our customers is that we are a one stop compliance shop, covering all electrical testing and compliance. We not only offer PAT testing and Fixed wire testing  but various fire safety maintenance and testing. We can test and service fire extinguishers, fire alarms, wet and dry risers, fire hydrants and emergency lighting. We can also install and service sprinkler systems and smoke ventilation. We can even offer help with lightning protection for your building. With such a diverse range of services we can help you with any of your electrical or testing needs. Contact us today.