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Socket Cover dangers(21 Posts)
There have been earlier posts on this forum regarding the dangers of socket covers. The problem was originally highlighted by the FatallyFlawed campaign (a group of professional engineers, doctors and child-care professionals).
Are you aware that subsequent to that Which? did a partial test of socket covers and also found some problems?
As a result of the original study Ofsted has ceased to demand the use of socket covers, but so far the Government has done nothing to either ban their sale or introduce regulations to ensure that they are safe.
Gosh - have just read your link. Had absolutely no idea about this. That's terrible.
Are they really needed? Most children don't really play with sockets. If you have a child who does, then it may be necessary but I can't say I've yet had a child who would poke things in the holes.
I don't have any in my house and neither do I have any stair gates! We will soon see what Ofsted have to say about that [gulp]
that is really interesting - I will be removing mine forthwith!
Having a look around my home, the plastic guards covering the Live and Neutral can be easily seen on sockets and also on two of the 4-way extension leads I have. However on one of the 4-way extension leads I have, I can not easily see the plastic guards... does it have them, does it not. Hard to know.
Use common sense. If you can't see the plastic guards, replace the socket / extension lead.
The BS 1363 wikipedia entry has a few images of socket covers and plugs being used incorrectly, thus exposing live terminals.
Amazingly this is what Ofsted pulled me up on when I has an inspection in 2008. I`ve just checked the plug in question and it has the guards as shown on the link.
Will be interesting to find out what they come up with next year.
Also in my experience little ones fiddle more with the covers than the sockets themselves and people tend to get complacent and let kids play with the covers.
i have my insoection thurs ill ask and let you know where they stand!
I think so long as you risk assess it (ie, no socket covers be vigilant for children playing near them and explain the risks to older children) then it's ok?
I came across the fatallyflawed info last year and subsquently stopped using the covers - mind you I only ever used them when working.
Had my inspection 3 weeks ago and the inspector was not impressed, even though none of my sockets can be accessed by a child - either out of reach or has something in front of them. Because the inspector was standing up she spotted a socket and questioned me about it - so I explained and showed her the RA etc etc
She was not happy and thought it was a safeguarding issue and its gone into my report.
Just be aware - ofsted may not demand this of us but they still will come up with another way to show their disapproval
well im going to keep mine in depite the children not being able to access them at all and ask her about it, but until they issue something official to say we should stop using them we're caught between the devil and the deep blue sea!
This is the message that FatallyFlawed got from the Ofsted Policy and Compliance Team at the end of 2008 :
"We no longer recommend the use of socket covers, but nor do we criticise their responsible use as part of a risk-assessed approach to electrical safety. Registered childcare providers must ensure their premises are as safe as possible for children. It is for the provider to decide as part of the risk assessment they carry out at their premises how best to protect children from dangers associated with electric sockets and appliances.
Our inspectors and contact centre will refer providers to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and Child Accident Protection Trust websites for information to help them make a decision about the use of socket covers and the type of sockets considered as ÂsafeÂ."
You will see that Ofsted refused to warn people of the dangers, but clearly stated that "We no longer recommend the use of socket covers".
If you are having problems with Ofsted inspectors over this issue, FatallyFlawed would like to hear from you. We consider it completely unaceptable that a government agency should be encouraging the use of dangerous products. Please use the "contact poster" button to let us know.
contrary to what my insector said today LOL (no surprise there then!)...she said they still request they are used and will do so until told otherwise!?..clear as mud then LOL
Sounds like FatallyFlawed needs to send the Ofsted Chief Inspector a copy of the correspondence, asking the Chief Inspector to make sure that all CCI's know that Ofsted "no longer recommend the use of socket covers" is the official policy.
From the sounds of it, that information has not got it's way down the chain to the individual inspectors.
PinkChick, thanks for the feedback! I have a request into Ofsted right now about what to do when inspectors do not adhere to the policy.
Would you like to provide some further details? It would help to be able to use specific cases! Please use the "contact poster" button.
id rather not to be honest, my inspector was lovely and it was actually her very last inspection as she was retiring so i would want her to be 'told off' for something she wasnt informed about. she looked genuinly unaware of any such findings to be honest!?
but thanks for asking
CarolinesDad I just tried to send you a message but it says that you do not have the correct privacy settings.
Anyway, I contacted Ofsted about this as I have an inspection coming up soon here is my email and their response:
"Hi there, I am a registered childminder and just wanted to clarify an issue regarding socket covers and their use within settings.
The campaign Fatally Flawed has claimed that in 2008 the Ofsted Policy and Compliance Team stated, "We no longer recommend the use of socket covers". Can you confirm that this is true as I do not want to use them in my home but I want to ensure that I wont be contravening any 'rules'. Obviously the setting is risk assessed and the sockets are noted as a risk."
"Thank you for your e-mail.
In response to your enquiry, Ofsted neither recommends nor prohibits the use of socket covers; instead we look at how registered providers ensure their premises are as safe as possible for children.
It is for the provider to decide as part of the risk assessment they carry out at their premises how best to protect children from dangers associated with electric sockets and appliances.
Providers may wish to consult the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and Child Accident Protection Trust websites for information to help them make a decision about the use of socket covers. ...."
Is that an actual statement that you got from the Ofsted Policy and Compliance Team? do you know who actually said it?
Many thanks for reporting back on that. And thanks for alerting me that my message security was not set right, I think I have fixed it now.
The response that you got from Ofsted seems to be consistent with what they told us. The statement I put in my message is exactly as I received it, but the individual who sent it appears to be no longer at Ofsted (an email I sent to him last week was returned as address unknown). I was given an alternative email address and am waiting for a reply from whoever is now responsible.
Both RoSPA and CAPT make it clear that socket covers are unnecessary, but neither have chosen to warn of their dangers.
I wasn't aware of this. I must send an email to the lady in dd's nursery. More awareness needs to be raised. Will put it on my FB!
For those concerned about your inspections, You may wish to include a routine check of your sockets shutters as part of your Risk Assessment. If you use MK sockets (which require that a real plug is inserted to open the shutters, not just the earth pin) then it is also worth noting in your RA the additional protection that they give.
I finally got an update from Ofsted and have posted it on a new thread
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