Can you spot the defect?

This plug was on an appliance I recently inspected. It has a serious defect that resulted in me applying an immediate FAIL.Plug With No Earth Pin

The owner had been using the appliance blissfully unaware of the potential danger they were exposed to.

When performing test and tagging, a defect such as this should be detected very quickly during the inspection process by a properly trained technician.

CLUE #1:  This was on the lead of a Class I appliance.

CLUE #2: All Class I appliances must have two levels of protection to guard against electric shock.

  1. The basic insulation applied to the “live” parts
  2. A protective earthing system that prevents any conductive accessible parts becoming “live” in the event of a failure of the basic insulation.

ANSWER: In this real life example, the earth pin of the plug had broken off. That meant the protective earth system had been compromised and wouldn’t function properly. Anybody using this appliance would be exposed to the risk of a serious, or fatal, electric shock if the appliance had an electrical defect, especially if the chassis became live. Fortunately that hadn’t happened and it was an easy defect to fix – I simply replaced the plug top with a new one, then electrically tested the appliance to verify it was safe to use again.

Learn how to correctly identify, inspect and electrically test Class I and Class II appliances by attending one of our test and tag courses.