Electrical Safety First’s prestigious Safety Innovation Award for 2023 has been won by HobSensus, which makes kitchens safer by ensuring hobs are not left switched on and alerts residents to potential fires.
The award, sponsored by ProductIP, rewards organisations which have developed an innovative product or project that has made – or will make – a significant improvement to consumer safety. It recognises innovators, designers and creators delivering forward-thinking approaches to product design and safety.
HobSensus is a safety device that turns hobs off when left unattended. It is particularly useful for student accommodation (2022/23 saw a five-year high for electrical fires in student halls of residence), communal kitchens, and people living in sheltered or assisted-living property.
Designed by Prefect Controls Limited, the device uses an integrated timer and a 64-zone sensor which reads temperatures across the hob, identifying hot spots with pinpoint accuracy. This enables the unit to react before flashpoints are reached.
Users simply press the red button to activate the unit and start the timer. When the time elapses, the hob is switched off. But if the temperature on the hob approaches 280°C, the unit flashes and emits an audible alarm. If no action is taken the power is shut off.
When connected to an alarm system, HobSensus can cut power to all hobs in a block if there is a building evacuation to reduce the risk of secondary ignition from kitchens which have been cleared.
Glen Golding, Managing Director of Prefect Controls Limited, says: “Whatever the situation, the hob cannot accidentally be switched on. It will be turned off, if forgotten about. Or it will turn off because dangerous temperatures are being approached.
“Kitchens are safer with HobSensus on the wall. Recognition by way of this award from such an authority as Electrical Safety First is testament to the logic, design, and functionality found in HobSensus.”
The judging panel’s comments on HobSensus were that it is “tested and approved to BS EN 50615 Category B, affordable and able to be retrofitted to existing installations, can be integrated to other fire systems and controlled centrally via IRUS, can identify patterns of risk in suites of accommodation, is targeted to higher risk installations such as student accommodation, and is robust and tamperproof.”
As the award winner, Prefect Controls Limited had the chance to present HobSensus at the 2023 Electrical Product Safety Conference on 16 November to an audience of more than 200 manufacturers, retailers, importers, product testing houses, safety advocates, and lawyers, as well as government and enforcement bodies.
In addition to the award winner, the Highly Commended entry for 2023 went to South Tyneside Homes for its Post Occupancy Electrical Safety Check initiative, which educates tenants on electrical safety risks.
This improves awareness of how tenants can keep themselves and their families safe in their homes over the short and long-term. And it offers protection by reducing issues of disrepair, electrical faults, electrical fires, and overspending of budgets.
If an organisation wants to enter the Safety Innovation Award for 2024, its idea does not need to be on the market already, it can also be in the concept, design or prototype stage.