Opinion: In my view - Pull the plug on this


During the Second World War the then Minister of Works and Buildings commissioned a series of studies to examine the requirements for post-war building.

One result was the BS 1363 system of Plugs and Sockets, introduced in 1947. Ever since then, the UK has benefited from the safest power sockets in the world. These have built-in shutters inside the socket for the specific purpose of preventing children poking objects into the holes.

Over the past few decades there has been an increasing use of so-called 'safety socket covers' which are sold to do what the internal shutters are already doing. In other words, they are completely unnecessary. People seem unaware that British sockets are tightly regulated by law, ensuring that only sockets meeting the standard may be installed.

The problem is that plugging a cover in always disables the approved safety device and replaces it with something which is not regulated, or even tested for insulation! A socket remains safe when a plug is inserted because the plug is made to a controlled size and shape. Covers do not meet these requirements and so reduce safety. Children are often able to remove covers, and their design makes it possible for them to put one back upside-down using only the top (earth) pin. On most sockets this opens the shutters so that the protection is removed. Even when inserted normally, the two most popular socket cover types allow small objects to be pushed into the live connections, with potentially fatal results.

FatallyFlawed is a group of professionals, engineers, doctors and childcare specialists, who campaign against the use of socket covers. As a result of our campaign, Ofsted and the other inspection bodies no longer require or recommend the use of plug-in socket covers. We will continue to campaign until the Government bans the sale of plug-in covers.

For information and our video on the dangers of socket covers, see www.fatallyflawed.org.uk

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