News item

Blanket testing reveals high failure rate

Two electric blankets that had been keeping their owners warm for more than 40 years – but were potentially dangerous – were among more than 60 electrical appliances that failed to meet safety standards over two days of testing.

Organised by Croydon Council’s trading standards team, this year’s event took place at two venues over two days last week (23 and 24) and saw more than 100 items – including electric blankets, table lamps, heat pads, toasters, kettles and irons – offered for safety testing.

At Thornton Heath’s Parchmore Community Centre, 50 items were tested. Of those, 19 items (38%) passed and 31 (62%) failed. Two items were repaired and two plugs were changed, free of charge.

Moving to Shirley Library for the second day, the testers looked at 58 items, approving 25 (43%) and failing 33 (57%). Three items were repaired and two plugs changed, again free of charge.
     Across the two days, the overall failure rate was 59%, with 15 of the electric blankets taken along having notched up 30 years’ service, and two an astonishing 40 years’.

Officers received extremely positive feedback from those attending, the majority rating the service excellent and saying they would use it again next year.

Some expressed surprise when their appliances, especially electric blankets, failed testing, stating that the blanket appeared to be in good condition and seemed to be working well.

Angela Magliocco, of Lodge Lane, Purley, attended the Shirley Library session and said: “I was very pleased to have found this service, though only by chance.

“And I was grateful to learn that my electric blanket was unsafe due to its age. I was a bit surprised because, visibly, it looked perfect.”

Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said: “This is the second year that our trading standards department has held this event and it’s proving very popular.

“All who attended praised, and were grateful for, the chance to have their appliances tested free of charge. One mentioned how valuable it was because there were no longer the sort of small, neighbourhood electrical shops that would have offered this type of service in years past.

“And the fact that almost two-thirds of the items were deemed unsafe only underlines how important it is to get electrical items safety-checked by a competent electrician, especially if they’re a few years old.”


Press office, Croydon Council, Bernard Weatherill House, 8 Mint Walk, Croydon, CR0 1EA

Tel: 020 8760 5644 Email:

DATE: 30 October 2013