LONDON, March 23 /PRNewswire/ --
- Leading Science and Technology Broadcaster Dr Adam Hart-Davis Lends Full Support to Campaign
A campaign begun by independent engineers in the letters page of Engineering Technology Magazine, and covered by a full investigation in the new issue, has led to calls for safety socket covers to be banned in the UK as an unnecessary drain on parents' resources and a potentially lethal addition to any home.
The potential dangers of using safety socket covers was originally highlighted by Peter M Munro in the May 2008 issue of Engineering Technology (ET) which led to the formation of FatallyFlawed - by a group of qualified engineers, doctors and child-care specialists - as a vehicle to campaign against plug-in socket covers.
Engineering Technology magazine is published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and is the UK's No 1 Technology title with a circulation of 150,000 qualified engineers.
The article in the new issue of ET goes on to point out that the original British Standard for fused plugs and shuttered sockets - BS1363 - dates back to 1947 and was implemented precisely to prevent children from being electrocuted by open live terminals.
With UK shuttered sockets already widely considered the safest in Europe and with no reported records of children's electrocution from insertions into plug sockets the FatallyFlawed team (including IET members Prof John Roulston OBE and David Peacock) concludes that: 'many companies have been marketing plastic safety socket covers in the misguided belief that they are an essential tool to prevent children from inserting fingers or other objects into plug sockets. '.
In fact, further investigation by the professional engineers at FatallyFlawed has revealed at least three ways in which the use of safety socket covers can expose children to a potential lethal risk.
The campaign points out that the safety covers can be easily inserted upside down thereby withdrawing the internal protective shutter and leaving the live terminal open and easily accessible.
Secondly, the two most popular cover designs (shown below) pose a safety risk even when correctly sited as both still allow needle-like objects, such as paper clips, to be pushed in and directly on to the live pin.
Finally, Fatally Flawed claim that none of the covers they tested actually complied with the dimensions found in BS1363 leading to a - not always obvious - incorrect sitting in the socket which made it easy for a child to remove the cover and possibly reinsert it upside down.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) already agrees with much of the findings and states that the socket covers are unnecessary. The campaign has also resulted in Ofsted reversing its policy of requiring nurseries and child minders to use the socket covers.
FatallyFlawed are now aiming to persuade the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to ban the sale of any device intended to plug into a BS1363 socket without the intention of making electrical contact.
Commenting in the new issue of ET, newly appointed patron of the FatallyFlawed campaign , Dr Adam Hart-Davis said: 'I normally refuse to join in campaigns but this seemed so important, and the safety covers so absurd and dangerous, that I agreed. I do think someone should do something, since children's lives are being put at risk'.
For more information please contact: Dickon Ross, Editor-in-Chief, Engineering Technology, T: +44(0)1438-767397, E: firstname.lastname@example.org; Andrew Burslem, CMC PR, T:+44(0)207-924-7448, E:email@example.com