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Neon ‘ornaments’ cause alarm

October 18, 2013 2 min read

This article recently appeared in the British Sign & Graphics Association newsletter, and highlights the importance of ensuring that neon products conform to British Standards:

“As every signmaker worth his salt knows, neon installations need to be handled with care and treated with respect. Made of glass and containing mercury, they operate at extremely high voltages, usually above 1000 volts and, with transformers, this can rise to over 10,000 volts.

So when a BSGA member spotted a website selling neon ‘ornaments’ for use in the home, alarm bells started ringing and they alerted the association.

Mike Hall, Chairman of the BSGA’s Technical Committe, explains: “The website depicted neon letters formed into words mounted on a wall with wires hanging down, evidently connected to an electronic transformer and a 13 amp socket.

“The letters were ‘plug and play’ and appeared to include connections in the high tension cables. We were appalled. As far as we could see these neon items did not conform or comply to the standards that our industry has to meet. Clearly nobody had referred to EN50107 or the IEE Wiring Regulations when putting the product together.

“The idea of having such potentially dangerous items in the home, particularly in areas where children could get to them, struck us as being particularly foolhardy and we felt we had no options but to inform Trading Standards about our concerns” he said.

Trading Standards acted swiftly and the BSGA understands that, as a result, modifications were made to the neon kits being sold.

“Strangely, although the BSGA made the original complaint, Trading Standards went to the Lighting Industry Association for confirmation that the revised kits were suitable for sale. Apparently, this was because the items were described as ‘lights’ on the website. Neither the LIA nor Trading Standards were willing to let us see the report.

“The neon kits are back on sale and we have to accept that Trading Standards are satisfied,” said Mike. “However, as somebody who has worked with neon and electrical signs most of my life, I have to say there is still absolutely no way I would have one of these ‘plug and play’ neon signs in my living room or any place where it could be accessed by children.”

All of Neon Creations products conform to EN50107, and where clients do wish to fit neon lettering directly onto the wall rather than have it fitted onto a backing, we would always strongly advise that this is done by someone with extensive neon installation experience, and conforming to IEE Wiring Regulations.


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