Monday, 23 February 2015

Electrical switches in deadly Perth shopping centre blast 'problematic in UK'

The same type of electrical switch that exploded at a Perth shopping centre at the start of February,  killing two men, has been identified as problematic in the United Kingdom, a supplier says.

Two men died and two others were badly injured when a high voltage electrical switch blew up at Morley Galleria shopping centre on February 3.

Electricity North West in the UK has experienced three incidents in which a GF3 fuse switch unit failed disruptively.

Manual operation of the fuse switches was banned in 2013 when any part of the unit or switchboard was live, after a defect was identified.

Last year, Electricity North West said the defect potentially affected "around 11,000 switchgear units in our switchgear portfolio which have the GF3 fuse switch mechanism".

Further investigation identified 2,200 units potentially needing replacement.

Director of Energy Safety Ken Bowron said the Galleria switch gear was the same type, although he was not aware of the UK problems.

He said the UK's experience would be examined as part of the investigation into the blast.
National switch audit needed: union


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