In Search Of Camlocks

Ed looked at his building manager warily. Alan was apparently a really nice guy, but there was absolutely no way that he was going to understand all the issues related to managing new power systems. The building was desperately in need of upgraded camlocks and power systems.

Alan had hired him to check out the building electrical system. It was a comparatively new building which Alan’s company had just started managing. Somebody had definitely got short-changed in terms of the building’ the s electrical system fittings. Ed had never seen such a menagerie of bits and pieces. He’d only been on the job for a couple of days, digging around in the various nooks and crannies of the electrical system, and his verdict had been unequivocal.

Just about everything had to go, including the “quaint” wiring. As an experienced electrician, he was only too well aware of the possible risks of allowing this dog’s breakfast of an electrical system to remain in its present condition.

Ed decided to give Alan the hard facts gently but simply.

“Alan, what you have here is a horror story waiting to happen. From the look of it, whoever installed this electrical system was either illiterate or wanted to make a few extra million on the side. There is hardly one bit of this system which even meets basic electrical safety standards.

It’s fixable, but I strongly recommend that quick safety precautions are taken immediately. The connections to the power supply are particularly dangerous, and as far as I can tell nobody bothered to check electrical loads. Thecamlocks are true fossils, and….”

Alan asked, innocently, “What are camlocks?”

Ed had been prepared for this question. Hardly anyone knew what camlocks were, and it was at least reassuring to know that Alan was taking an interest. As a highly experienced electrician, Ed had pinpointed the camlocks as the quickest, best upgrade possible to improve system safety.

Camlocks are the primary system connections to power sources. They manage the electrical loads.”

Alan got it immediately.

“You mean if we get them fixed, we reduce risk?”

“Exactly. The existing camlocks are hopelessly out of date. They don’t even have the current color wiring, let alone the capacity to manage the kind of power that all the new systems in the building will be using.”

Ed breathed a sigh of quite genuine relief. He’d been worried that Alan would be focusing on costs, rather than very serious on-site hazards. To his surprise, Alan then picked up the phone, and rang his area manager.

“Hello, Jack? I’ve got Ed Miller, our new head electrician, here at the moment, and he says it’s as bad as we suspected after that two page building inspection we didn’t believe… Yeah, apparently we can stave off immediate disaster with some new camlocks… Power system connections… But we will need to get to work on replacing the vast majority of the current electrical system ASAP… How long to install the camlocks, Ed?.. We can get it done this weekend… Great, see you later.”

Ed discovered that he had just been promoted. He decided that it was the most productive conversation about camlocks he’d ever had, when he later became national manager of building safety for Alan’s firm.