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Becta provides advice and guidance to local authorities to support and encourage schools to improve learning with ICT. We do this by providing information and tools for whole school improvement and best value procurement.

Safety alert: laptop computer charging trolleys


In early October 2009 HSE (Health and Safety Executive) released a safety alert to raise awareness of a potential electrical danger related to the use and misuse of laptop computer charging trolleys.

The advice in this safety alert can be summarised as below:

  • Ensure all new and existing laptop charging trolleys meet all relevant standards by firstly checking for a CE mark, and then contacting the supplier or manufacturer to verify that the trolley conforms with the requirements in the HSE safety alert.
  • Laptop charging trolleys must only be connected or disconnected from a mains supply, and transported from one location to another by an adult.
  • Sockets used to support a laptop charging trolley must be protected by a switchable RCD (residual current device).
  • Sockets must be switched OFF before inserting or removing the mains plug from the laptop charging trolley.
  • All trailing leads must be secured prior to moving the laptop charging trolley to prevent them from dragging on the floor. If no cable management system is present, contact the manufacturer for suggestions of a suitable option.
  • Daily visual checks should be made to the mains leads, plugs and sockets, to ensure there is no damage.
  • Laptop charging trolley should have their PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) certificate renewed every 6 months.
  • Any modifications or repairs to a laptop charging trolley or should be discussed with the manufacturer/ supplier before commencing any work.
  • Any proposed changes to electrical wiring and plug sockets related to the use of laptop charging trolleys should be discussed with the trolley manufacturer/ supplier before commencing any work.
  • Any work to modify, repair or fit electrical equipment must be carried out by a competent and qualified electrician.
  • Advice and guidance on the safe use of trolleys should be affixed clearly to the laptop charging trolley, to ensure that it is always available and can be followed.

For more information, please refer to the full safety alert text on the HSE website.

Becta is continuing to work with HSE and manufacturers to further clarify issues surrounding this matter, and will update this information as this work progresses.

Printer friendly printer friendly version of this page Published: 15 January 2010