Checking the condition of your electrical systems on a regular basis is vital for detecting and preventing potential hazards.
Fixed testing, also known as Electrical Installation Condition Reporting or periodic inspection, is a systematic test of all of the various elements of your electrical services, including cabling, switches, lighting and outlet points.
Regulation and Responsibility
In the UK, workplace electrical installation maintenance is covered by several regulations including:
- 1974 – Health & Safety at Work Act
- 1989 – Electricity at Work Regulations
- 1992 – Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations
- 1999 – Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations
The Electricity at Work regulation specifically states that “all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger.”
Companies have a responsibility to their employees and the general public, to look after their health and safety while they are on site. That being said, the 1989 Electricity at Work regulations also recognise that employees must be co-operative in helping to prevent health and safety issues.
Beyond the official regulations, evidence of fixed testing may also be a requirement from your landlord, mortgage provider or insurer.
How frequently your electrical systems need to be checked varies depending on the type of equipment you have installed, how often it is used and who it is used by. Typically locations using high powered electrical machinery, or where the public is in close proximity to the technology, will require more rigorous and frequent checks.
In most normal settings it is recommended that a routine check is carried out annually, with formal inspections every five years, or whenever you move into a new property. These time-frames would be suitable for a typical office IT electrical installation.
One notable exception to this is fire alarms, which should be checked weekly, with a formal test at least once a year.
It goes without saying that fixed testing must be carried out by a registered electrician.
While this type of testing can seem invasive, Guidance Note 3 of IEE Wiring regulations states that tests should be conducted “in such a way as to minimise disturbance of the installation and inconvenience to the user”. This includes agreeing a convenient time….Read More….