A top priority for specifiers responsible for sourcing socket outlets has always been safety, and it always will be. This is particularly the case in commercial builds, in which thousands of people will use sockets to access electricity on a daily basis. It’s important to feel confident that the accessories you’ve sourced are free of danger when its people’s safety in your hands.
Piece written by Jim Hutchison, National Sales Manager, Crabtree.
But admittedly, wiring accessories aren’t always the first thing on a design engineer’s mind. It’s normal to just ‘stick with what you know’ in this somewhat niche field. However, although it might seem easier, this is exactly what prevents progress and something like safety can always be improved. New safety innovations in wiring accessories should not go undetected, when they have the potential to surpass current regulations to make both their installation and use a safer process. Optimising safety was one of the key drivers in the development of the new Instinct range at Crabtree, so it’s time for specifiers to broaden their horizons in the commercial market, and open their eyes to the new innovations on offer. Below, we’ve outlined two important innovations that are having a profound impact on the choices available to specifiers.
Twin action multipin safety shutter system
Multipin safety shutters are a technical mechanism, which make sure that the socket live and neutral pin apertures remain closed even when the earth pin is engaged. Consequently, for higher levels of safety, this feature has been incorporated into all socket outlets that are part of our new Instinct range. Although it is not listed as a requirement in the product standard, this mechanism requires multiple pins of a BS plug to fully operate, exceeding the British Standard and minimising potential misuse by the public in commercial installations. This has long been a concern in commercial builds like hotels or hospitals, where preventing public access to power can help protect curious children. However, this safety feature is not something you will get unless you specify them in your designs. Today, simply specifying BS1363 is not enough; to optimise safety, make sure you go out of your way and ask for multi pin safety shutter sockets.
Fixed installation USB charging outlets
Although specifiers like to stick with good and reliable brands when it comes to sourcing for commercial builds, no one can deny that the needs of the UK public are changing and that wiring accessories need to adapt. However, it’s not just about specifiers satisfying the changing demands of the public, it’s about keeping them safe too.
In our modern world, most people now own a smartphone. In fact, according to Deloitte, 81% of UK adults now own one, and they want to be able to charge it whenever and wherever their location. However, there’s an increased risk of electrical fault with the use of those cheap, available, but unofficial smart-phone chargers that many people own. Such chargers lack the necessary insulation to work safely. In 2016, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) tested approximately 400 counterfeit chargers for Apple products. Out of the 400 third-party chargers they tested, only three chargers were insulated well enough to protect against electric shocks. On top of this, Apple found that 90% of Apple chargers listed as ‘genuine’ on Amazon were fake. So, whilst consumers might believe they’re buying the real thing for a cheaper price, in reality the chargers they receive are often poorly constructed with inadequate insulation, making them unsafe for use.
Fortunately, there’s now a way to police and prevent their use in big, commercial buildings by specifying wiring accessories that incorporate USB charging outlets into fixed installations. This does more than satisfy the desire for charging convenience, it also offers higher levels of safety for the employees, and visitors. Ultimately, fixed installation USB charging outlets from a recognised brand remove the risk of electrical fault and guarantee charger performance.
Commercial specifiers need to think ahead; it’s a fact. To go above and beyond expectations they can source new accessories that are fit for future health and safety regulations. Safety is an important consideration when sourcing all electrical accessories, and this is one of the many reasons that here at Crabtree, we believe wiring accessories and new innovations should get the attention they deserve during the specification phase.