The Use Of Multimeters And Proving Units For Your Electrical Safety.

With the increase in construction and renovation projects in Ireland and the U.K. in recent months the demand for electricians is on the rise again. 

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Safe Isolation Proper Procedures Helps Save Lives

Unfortunately every year there are many avoidable accidents in the electrical industry around live switch boards and distribution panels. To ensure your and your colleagues safety on site there are safe isolation procedures in place.
Using the correct equipment on site is vitally important to stay safe. Failure to use the recommended equipment to identify live circuits can result in severe injury and possibly death.

Why Multi-meters And Non Contact Voltage Detectors Are Not Suitable

Electricians have a huge range of electrical testing equipment to choose from in today's market with many choosing their trusty multimeter to test circuits.
The problem with using a multi-meter is that it is very easy to select the wrong range on the meter itself. Simple human error can prove very costly if working on a large live board.
As well as this, multi-meters and non contact voltage detectors rely on standard AA or AAA batteries to operate. If the batteries are flat then a false 'dead' reading will be given on a potentially live circuit.
Also, while a non contact voltage detector can be used to detect live cables, they cannot reliably be used to prove dead.

Correct Procedures And Equipment

It is essential to prove that a circuit is dead before carrying out any work on it. A dedicated Proving Unit and Voltage Detector should be used to ensure your safety at all times.
Electrical Safety First {} have produced a guidance document {Best Practice Guide 2 Iss.3 2015} for best practice regarding the safe isolation of live circuits. 
The guide make the following points on the use of voltage detectors for safe isolation.
"Following isolation of equipment or circuits and before starting work, it should be proved that the parts to work on and those nearby, are dead. It should never be assumed that equipment is dead because a particular isolation device has been placed in the OFF position."

Martindale Recommended Equipment For Proving Dead

A dedicated Voltage Detector and Proving Unit are recommended to be used in the Best Practice Guide 2 for proving that a circuit is dead. 
Also worth noting is that all equipment used must comply with BS EN61243-3:2010. A change in this standard occurred in May 2013 which now forbids the use of fuses in 2 Pole Voltage Indicators. 
This, similar to the batteries mentioned above, is down to any possible problems with the fuse which could give a false reading.
The Martindale VI13800 Voltage Detector along with the PD440 Proving Unit are recommended equipment for proving dead circuit
The PD440 Proving Unit allows Voltage Detectors be tested before and after use to ensure the instrument is working correctly.  
For instruments designed for measuring single and three phase supplies up to 440v the PD440 is the perfect choice.
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