The importance of barcodes in portable appliance testing

Current health and safety legislation is something which every employer should fully understand. Employers need to create an environment at work which is safe for their employees, whist also making sure that employees have the all necessary equipment they need to do their jobs.

However, many employers neglect their care of duty, leaving employees using out-of-date equipment, which not only makes their job harder but also slows their work progress. In the majority of cases the result of this will simply be a frustrated worker and a work process which takes a long time to complete. However, when the equipment the employee is using is powered by electricity, it’s not just productivity which can be put at risk.

Faulty electrical equipment is dangerous. And because of this employers must make sure that it is tested on a regular basis for electrical safety. The recurrence of this electrical safety test will usually depend on the type of equipment which is being used. For example, a desktop computer presents little risk to a user due to the position in which it is kept and the type of work it does, so a yearly check may be all that is needed. However, electric power tools which are subject to physical damage may have to be checked more frequently, with visual checks completed by the user before each use and an electrical safety check completed every few months.

And it’s not just the safety of employees which comes into question in terms of electrical safety. Without regular portable appliance tests, most insurers won’t even consider providing cover for businesses.

Where employers have a large quantity of different portable appliances, some type of tracking system has to be put into place. The test carried out on each item needs to be recorded and future tests also documented. To achieve this each item needs its own unique identifier, which can be added to a database so accurate records can be kept. This number might have been etched or printed onto an item, so the item can be identified and located for future tests.

The simple way employers found of keeping records of electrical items involved the use of a numbering system, which documented each item in hard copy form. This was simple to use but extremely time consuming. However, over recent years new computer systems have been designed to do the job of keeping track of inventory and the job has suddenly become much simpler.

Barcode systems are now the most popular way of keeping track of items which need to be tested for electrical safety. A barcode identification label is stuck onto each item and this label is read by a barcode scanner. Information about the item is all contained within a computer database, so all the item are recorded and any information about a particular item can be obtained at the touch of a button.

New barcode enabled portable appliance systems allow testers to carry out checks quickly and efficiently. The data collected is accurate and all kept on a system which can be accessed at the touch of a button. This keeps employees safe and also keeps employers on the right side of the law concerning health and safety at work.

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