"During visits to site by your electrical surveyor’s and engineers it has been noticed that a lot of buildings, especially nurseries, are utilizing plug socket inserts to provide an additional level of safety to power sockets."

Safety concerns over the use of 230V 'safety plug' sockets

During visits to site by your electrical surveyor’s and engineers it has been noticed that a lot of buildings, especially nurseries, are utilizing plug socket inserts to provide an additional level of safety to power sockets. We have been reviewing these devices and would strongly advise that you remove them from use as they can actually pose a safety risk.

All sockets in the UK are designed with a shutter arrangement so that the live and neutral pins have an internal shutter over them which is pushed down when the plug is inserted (this is why the earth pin on the plug is longer). The live part of the socket is only accessible with the shutter lifted. If the shutter is lifted due to damage, the live part of the socket is at a depth deep enough where it is not possible to put any fingers into the holes far enough to get a shock, unless you insert a conducting object.

The following problems have been highlighted with their use: Firstly if the inserts are removed, they can be inserted upside down which will allow the shutters to lift allowing possible access to the live parts; Secondly there is no British Standard for these inserts, meaning they have not been tested accordingly and there is no standard of build quality; Thirdly if the earth pin breaks off as shown in the photo below (which was taken at a Shropshire school), it once again leaves the shutters lifted leaving the live parts exposed for possible access.

With these faults in mind the NHS has banned them from all locations from June of this year, this can be seen at https://www.cas.dh.gov.uk/ViewandAcknowledgment/ViewAlert.aspx?AlertID=102494

The following websites further explains the areas of concerns http://www.fatallyflawed.org.uk/

http://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/nursery-world/news/1158900/doh-guidance-highlights-dangers-of-plug-socket-covers

We would advise that these devices are removed immediately and if you have any problems with broken pins, jammed inserts or any other problem with the socket or insert then please contact PSG immediately.