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Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
There's an interesting quote about halfway down this thread relating to how safe the U.K. wiring system is is relation to other countries:

This is touching upon rings, fused vs. unfused plugs, and to what extent DIY wiring is permitted.


Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
From the site:
Australia, where the regulations are by far the tightest - officially you can't even buy a mains plug or a bulb holder without showing a qualification card, appears to have four times the death rate from electrical accidents relative to New Zealand, where the electrical techniques are similar but regulation wise things are very more relaxed, and certain DIY activities are allowed.
Where did they get that information?.
It's people that work under pseudonyms that can say whatever they like about places they've never been to and feel good about it and mislead others in the process!.
As far as I am aware, we don't have to buy plugs down here, our appliances come with them pre-fitted.
And here is one for C-H, Perth in Western Australia and WA in general, uses a 440/250V system and they like it!!
Other side of the coin, why don't people from the Northern Hemisphere just ask us down here, instead of making rash generalisations.

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 382
Whilst visiting Perth, WA some years ago I went into the local DIY-hardware store (BBC I think it was) and all the wire and fittings were there for purchase by anyone. There was just a large printed sticker on everything to remind you that electrical work could only be undertaken by a licensed electrician. On that same visit I bought two mains plugs from Radio Shack/Tandy? for the cell phone charger and laptop – hate adapters. There was nothing on these to say that I couldn’t fit them myself and I did. They are still in my glory-box [Linked Image]

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
Just a little question,
Are appliances still manufactured in the UK?.
Or is there a nasty Customs officer that cuts all the plugs off of the appliances as they come into the country.
The concept of buying an appliance without a plug on it, is a bit foreign here.
And would give rise to words like, er discount being used at the counter.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
Are appliances still manufactured in the UK?
Some are still made here, but many are imported. A few years ago a new law was passed requiring all new appliances to be sold with a BS1363 plug ready fitted, either a molded on type, or a rewireable one. (Exception for high-power units which would be hardwired.)

Molded plugs had started to become used more often here before that time, but certainly into the 1980s it was quite normal for most appliances to be supplied with no plug. The old excuse was that as several different plug/socket standards were in use around the country, nobody knew which type should be fitted. By the 1980s, older BS546 outlets were becoming much rarer though.

Or is there a nasty Customs officer that cuts all the plugs off of the appliances as they come into the country.
No, they're too busy looking for tourists bringing back cheap wine from France and seizing their vehicles. [Linked Image]

(Which, incidentally, is in complete violation of EU rules, to which our govt. agreed and which they're usually more than enthusiastic to enforce. Customs here effectively make up their own rules as they go along and to h*** with anyone who questions them. [Linked Image] Sorry, off-topic rant over.)

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 12-14-2004).]

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,253
djk Offline
The liability is on the retailer over here. Any applience on sale must have the correct plug or a permanently fitted adaptor plug which can only be removed with the use of a tool.

That being said, you still get plenty of appliences on sale here with schuko plugs. As Ireland's a part of the European single currency (Euro) It doesn't make a lot of sense to buy things from UK suppliers / shipped via the UK as currency convertions would be necessary. So, the majority of appliences sold here come directly from elsewhere in Europe.

Most manufacturers don't have a huge issue with simply adding a different cable for the UK or Ireland (or italy, switzerland or denmark).

Don't forget that electrical appliences may have to deal with other minor technical variations. E.g. televisions, VCRs etc... not to mention the language variations which mean that control panels have to be different depending on which market they're going to.

Perhaps the simplest sollution would be to create a standard set of semi-fixed applience connectors with a keyed fitting corresponding to the expected load, to avoid undersized cable being used.

Such a connector, could be pushed into the back of an applience and locked into position with a screw.

It could be fairly small and neat, perhaps along the lines of the current IEC applience connectors we all have at the back of our PCs and on our kettles.

The corresponding cords could have any national plug moulded onto the other end.


On the issue of tight regulations.

Perhaps the countries with very tight regulations and high accident rates introduced those regulations as a reaction to high accident rates. This could mean that a lot of older installations are of a low standard.

Also, I wonder if the more "sue happy" / ligtegous countries like the United States, UK, Ireland etc could survive with looser regulation as the contractor must bare serious financial consequences if something isn't done to code and goes wrong.

Maybe in a context where people don't sue quite so readily, tight regulation is more necessary.

[This message has been edited by djk (edited 12-14-2004).]

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
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C-H Offline
The Swedish figures for 2003 just came in. (Yes, 2003, not 2004.)

The tables are in Swedish, but I've given a few hints below: [Linked Image]


The first table is for the number of people who had to go to hospital for treatment. (The "Sjukdagar" is how many days the accident kept them from work.) "Dödsfall" is the number of deaths (by electrocution). As you can see, this figure has been between two and nine since 1996. With a population of 9 million, the number of deaths is 0.2 - 1 per million people.

The second table list the causes of serious accidents. (Cables, cords, machinery, switchgear etc.)

The third and last table is the number of deaths per year on average for the periods. The columns titles are: Electricians and similar, Ordinary people at work, Ordinary people at home

{Edited for typo which placed the blame for the accidents on the tables...}

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 12-16-2004).]

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 2
Junior Member
Hiya everyone
Just been looking over your site, great site for electricians. I am an English sparky now working in Australia having worked in Asia and Hong Kong.
The first thing I noticed in Australia was the power points and light switches in bathrooms. My apartment has a double socket situated 30cm from the bathroom sink!The apartment was only built in 1995.No bonding whatsover after the main bond. The aussies use twin and earth in many situations where in England we would have to run conduit.

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 186
Hi English, welcome to the net, mm sockets and switches in bathrooms, presume that these are all backed by RCD protection, if so I personally dont see a problem, I can forsee a time when we might come round to allowing it. Any one else got any thoughts.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
Hi English, and welcome to ECN.

Well, regulars here know my views on sockets in bathrooms already! [Linked Image] I really think that the British IEE has been stubbornly overprotective on this point for many years. Practically everywhere else in the world allows bathroom sockets, in some cases not only allows them but requires one.

I think it comes to (a) locating the socket in a sensible place, and (b) trusting that people will apply a little common sense in the way it is used.

On the bonding issue, the specifics on this do seem to vary considerably from code to code in various countries. That's not to mention being subject to change fairly frequently even within a country,

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