We all know that when we start PAT Testing, we must start with the visual inspection. This is because more faults are found by doing the visual inspection, its best to start with inspecting the plug.

Plugs and leads are often prone to accidental damage, especially if they are attached to an appliance that is well used and mobile. The lead or plug can be dropped as the appliance is picked up or put down. The lead can be caught in a door, or behind a table or desk; all the while the user is taking special care of the appliance itself!

Inspecting Plugs at Parker Bell

While this may all seem obvious to the seasoned PAT Tester, we recently came across a “first” while doing our own PAT Testing here at Parker Bell. I was doing the PAT Testing in the Managing Directors office, and her fan heater was plugged into the wall. It was switched off at the plug, but plugged in none the less! In order to do the visual inspection, I went to unplug the plug from the wall socket, and to my horror the back of the plug came off in my hand!

I have been doing PAT Testing for over 15 years and never have I experienced the back of the plug coming off in my hand before. On removing the remainder of the plug from the wall. I continued with my visual inspection and can only assume that the thread in the main screw must have either perished or worn away. It’s hard to see inside, but the main screw is screwed into a plastic thread. I checked several of the other plug we had in appliances, and most of them had metal inserts where the main screw attached the front and the back of the plug.

What was most concerning about this visual inspection was that the nature of the appliance was such that it was rarely moved around, it tended stay put. So why the plug failed it is difficult to tell.  The plug is manufacturer fitted, and shows the BSI kite mark and certificate number, so we assume it is legitimate. However, we will be making sure that from now on we only use plugs with a metal thread insert, so ensure there is a tight fit, which should reduce the chance of this happening.

Always something to learn when PAT Testing and inspecting plugs

I have replaced the plug with a new one, but it’s fair to say, that you still continue to learn, even after all these years of doing visual inspections. If you have any questions about visual inspections, or about PAT Testing in general, by all means give us a call on 01392 364933.

If you want to learn how to carry out a full visual inspection, just watch our video below: