British plugs & sockets are amongst the safest in the world. This is because the British BS1363 standard has been around for decades, also due to laws like the Plugs & Sockets Act 1994.
In fact, it is illegal in the UK to sell an electrical item with a plug that does not conform to BS1363.They should not have a CE mark on them.
However, the law becomes a very grey area when it comes to chargers & adapters for mobile phones, I pads, USB chargers, e cigarettes, mini vacs (the list is endless) most imported from abroad.
These chargers & transformers do not necessarily have to comply with British Standards & there are millions of them in our homes & businesses. How do we know if they are safe?
Here are a few guidelines: –
- Only buy from a reputable high street store or manufacturer. If buying online only buy from a well-known company’s official website.
- Never use when there are cracks or damage to casing or signs of overheating.
- The Earth pin must be all plastic or all metal, not part insulated. (This is a sure sign that it is fake or sub-standard)
- The live & neutral pins should be part insulated.
- Make sure it is the same size as a standard BS1363 plug & the pins are not too close to the edge. Only use the device when you are present, do not leave it on overnight or when you are out, or leave children alone with it.
- Only use the adapter or charger that was supplied with your device.
- It should be CE stamped but this only means that it is compliant with an EU directive, not necessarily that it’s been tested or approved.
- Its normally ok for these devices to get warm when in use but never to get so hot they are uncomfortable to touch.
- If in any doubt seek advice.