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The association of welding distribution (AWD) and PVC welding cable issues

The Association of Welding Distribution (AWD) has been made aware by the Approved Cables Initiative (ACI) of problems arising from undersized PVC welding cable being sold to UK manufacturing.

This problem comes on top of a recent announcement from the ACI that more than 5,000,000m. of faulty electrical cable has had to be destroyed as being underspecified and therefore unsafe, having been imported into the UK from Turkey.

The ACI has advised the AWD, that the ACI are fully aware of certain problems arising with undersized PVC cable following a complaint from a major end user, who returned around 30, the supplier, in this case a non AWD member. Both the AWD and ACI have subsequently had cable independently tested and found that 2 separate samples tested failed to meet the cross sectional area resistance tests in accordance with current International standards. Basically the tests found that the supplier in question was selling cable, which in reality should be 50mm2, whereas the actual size was either 38mm2 or 42mm2. With ever increasing copper prices, by reducing the copper content both the manufacturer and re-seller are undertaking a cost savings exercise, which has both serious trading standards and safety consequences.

Danny Gallagher, past Chair at AWD said: “The AWD is a responsible organization, supporting its members and the end user and will not stand back when faced with such trading practices within the UK welding distribution industry and will take all necessary steps to assist all bodies in eradicating this dangerous practice. The AWD would like to point out that PVC cable is not the most suitable welding cable, only rubber insulated copper cable, that conforms to EN 60974 (is suitably certified HO1N2-D or BS638 Part 4) can be designated as suitable “Welding Cable”. The AWD is clearly aware of this information and as such are responsible to its members to report it to the membership of the Association.”
The AWD Council in collaboration with both the ACI and HSE (Health and Safety Executive) is calling on all UK distributors of welding and cutting equipment to consider their responsibilities and not to compound the problem.

The ACI is an industry-wide working group with supply chain representative bodies including
Electrical Distributors Association (EDA); Electrical Contractors Association (ECA); Electrical Safety Council; British Approvals Service for Cables (BASEC); British Cables Association (BCA); Doncaster Cables; Energy Networks Association (ENA); Ascertiva (previously the NICEIC Group Limited) and SELECT and has reported these dangerous practices to the HSE and understands the HSE are taking it seriously, having already communicated the details of this matter to 8 HSE inspectors. The ACI are working closely on this and other cable issues with HSE.

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