PAT testers come across all kinds of potential ‘accidents waiting to happen’, many of which are found when we inspect site equipment – equipment using 110v adaptors. On a recent site visit, to a reputable company with a good safety record I came across a number of issues when inspecting 110v cables.
PAT Testing of 110v equipment on or off site
Most of these issues can be avoided with regular user checks, and most happen not through negligence but general use.
When a 110v adaptor is plugged in to a power source many people struggle to remove them, which leads to tugging on the cables and improper use. Now, if the screws on the cable grip are not sufficiently tightened there’s going to be a problem – the wires in the connectors (Live, neutral, earth) and going to be pulled too, possibly out of the connections which can lead to faults and dangers.
Preventing natural damage to 110v equipment
A simple user check before use can resolve this, but as everyone who has ever used a 110v lead will tell you, getting into these adaptors is not easy, and isn’t a quick process and that puts a lot of people off. It may take 5 minutes but I think that’s 5 minutes well spent if it saves your life.
Look at this photo;
We came across this plug; the brown inside the grey adaptor cover is rust residue caused by water ingress which has led also to rusting of the connectors. You also notice that the cable sheeth is not in-between the grips like it should be as the grip isn’t secured correctly. These 2 issues have led to a very dangerous item. The image below is the same item, just a slightly different angle.
These images help to show the severity of not performing regular user checks on 110v equipment. All it takes is to unscrew the two screws (sometimes it’s not even a screw), open it up, check inside and tighten the screws – just make sure it’s not connected to the power when you do it.
Look at this image above – can you see the earth wire has completely come out of the terminal? The cable grip looks secure but in fact it is just loose enough so there has been pulling on an earth wire that was too short, only by a few millimetres but when your dealing with the safety or 110v equipment every mm counts.
Other dangerous electrical appliances stories involving 110v equipment