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ARE UNIVERSAL SOCKET OUTLETS ELECTRICALLY SAFE? By Eng. S. R. Munasinghe
 

There have been many deaths, especially of children, getting electrocuted owing to the use of non standard socket outlets and extension cords. Absence of a single national standard requires universal sockets, adapters, and extension cords with universal sockets. All universal sockets compromise safety. In an effort to prevent such deaths and as a mater of public safety , the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka ( PUCSL) along with many professionals, academics and members of IESL have been working for over the past six months, to analyse options and discuss issues involved in standardising the plugs and socket outlets in Sri Lanka.

 

It is very important we have all relevant agencies and individuals on board, to manage this transition. In this effort the PUCSL had a public consultation in October 2015, and several meetings with the stakeholders including socket outlet manufacturers and importers to get them on board. We are very happy to note that these efforts have borne fruit and very soon we would be able to have a safe standard single design of a plug and a socket outlet in Sri Lanka. The transition would begin in 2016, and would be completed by 2018. Appliances sold and sockets used in new wiring work, will all have the same pin shape and standard. The type selected to be that unique standard is the "type G", more popularly known as the "square pin" or "13 ampere" plug and socket. All other plug tops and sockets would be gradually phased out.

 

In the following article on "Are Universal Socket Outlets Electrically Safe?" the author, Eng. S.R.Munasinghe, tries to explain the dangers and risks of using one of the unsafe electrical accessories found in the market namely the universal socket outlet.

     
ARE UNIVERSAL SOCKET OUTLETS ELECTRICALLY SAFE? By Eng. S.R.Munasinghe  

ARE UNIVERSAL SOCKET OUTLETS ELECTRICALLY SAFE?

 

Most of the electrical accessories available in the market for house wiring do not have the SLS certification or certification from any other standards institution. Poor quality, substandard and unsafe electrical accessories are imported and sold without any restriction and control in Sri Lanka.

 

The universal socket outlet is one such item. The objective of writing this article is to bring the attention of all the engineers in IESL to the dangers and safety standard violations of universal socket outlets that are being installed in the modern buildings.

 

BS 7671 is the current standard for wiring regulations for buildings in Sri Lanka. BS 7671 stipulates the design procedures for circuits having electrical socket outlets to BS 546 (SLS 948 in Sri Lanka) or BS 1363 (SLS 734 in Sri Lanka). SLS 948 applies to round pin type socket outlets and plugs rated for 5A and 15A and SLS 734 applies to rectangular pin type fused plugs, Switched and unswitched socket outlets rated for 13A.

 

In other words, only three types of socket outlets, namely 5A, 15A round pin type and 13A rectangular pin type can be installed in buildings in accordance with the prevailing Standards in Sri Lanka. Further, these socket outlets are listed in the Government Gazette dated 08/01/2014 and are subject to inspection and certification by SLSI before they are imported for sale in Sri Lanka. Also, please note that there is no Sri Lankan Standard for two pin socket outlets in Sri Lanka.

 
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