Fortunately, UK law now requires all new electrical equipment to be fitted with plugs, making fitting them to new gadgets unnecessary. Damaged plugs, however, pose a serious risk of personal injury and must be replaced immediately.
Preventing injury by faulty wiring
While it is comparatively easy to change a plug, it is recommended that anyone doubting their ability to do this right should ask someone competent enough to perform this task to do it, in order to prevent accidental injuries by wiring the plug wrong.
Wiring plugs safely
The first step is obviously to unscrew the plug. The fuse on the right hand side may need to be removed to allow for easier access to the terminal. Next, look at the colour of the wires. The current standard for flex wires states that colours should be:
- Blue – Neutral (N)
- Brown – Live (L)
- Green and Yellow – Earth (E)
Older equipment may still have wires in the colours under the old standard, which were:
- Black – Neutral (N)
- Red – Live (L)
- Green – Earth (E)
To prevent accidental electrocution, it is important to place these wires into the right terminals on the plug.
Correct positioning of wires
Holding the plug with the fuse on the right, wires should be attached as follows:
- Brown (or red) – live – bottom right, next to fuse
- Blue (or black) – neutral – bottom left
- Yellow and green (or green) – earth – top terminal
A good way of remembering this (at least as far as the current standard is concerned):
- Blue equals BL equals Bottom Left
- Brown equals BR equals Bottom Right
After replacing the fuse, the flex cable must be secured by clamping it under the cable grip located at the plug’s bottom. It is important to ensure that the flex is clamped (either by screwing down the grip or by pushing the flex between the two flanges) with the outer insulation layer inside the grip. This prevents injury by damaged inner wires.
If you were injured by faulty wiring of a plug through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to claim for compensation. You can initiate a compensation claim by calling Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500. Calls to the 24/ 7 help line are free and will be kept confidential by the company’s friendly, helpful advisers. Your claim will not cost you anything in solicitor fees until it is settled, as the law firm’s legal team operates on a no-win, no-fee basis.
Date Published: January 28, 2014
Author: David Brown