Everything About Electrical Inspection and Testing
When workplace devices, appliances and machinery appear to be in good working order, arranging for electrical inspection and testing may not seem like a priority. Booking a commercial electrician to visit your property to check and test every item of electrical equipment sounds like a time consuming and disruptive process.
Electrical inspection and PAT Testing is not a legal requirement, so why bother?
As a local electrician, St Albans and Watford business often ask us this question. The answer is “Make annual testing a priority because it prevents fires”.
According to Fire Statistics England data, last published in August 2017, there were 162,000 fire incidents in England in 2015/16. These resulted in 7,661 human casualties and 303 fatalities. In addition to this, considerable damage was caused to premises, equipment, resources and belongings.
A visit from an experienced commercial electrician will cause a little disruption. They need to use specialist electrical testing equipment to work through a detailed electrical inspection checklist, so it isn’t a quick job. Having said this, it’s a lot less disruptive than the potential consequences. It could save your employees, your workplace and everything you’ve worked for. Surely that makes it a worthwhile procedure.
Electrical Maintenance and Fire Safety
Whilst electrical inspection and testing isn’t a legal requirement, employers, landlords and those responsible for public buildings do have legal requirements. They have to take reasonable steps to ensure that no danger will be caused to their employees, tenants or the general public. Regular electrical maintenance is considered a reasonable measure.
If an incident should occur and you are unable to provide a valid electrical inspection certificate, expect the courts to issue a significant fine.
What causes Workplace Fires?
Fires in the workplace are caused when flammable materials are ignited. Electrical sparks from faulty appliances or leads were responsible for around 15% of the fire incidents in 2015/16. A further 36% were caused by the misuse of electrical equipment.
It is extremely rare for a workplace to be operational without some form of electrical equipment. There are five common causes of electrical fires and how to reduce the risk:
Poor Quality Electrical Products
Equipment manufactured in the UK has to comply with high quality standards that reduce the risk of fire, but not all countries have the same requirements. Cheaper brands are more prone to problems, so consider the long term value when you make an investment.
Lack of Electrical Maintenance
Even the best equipment demands regular electrical maintenance to keep it in good operating condition, especially when used in demanding applications. If issues have been identified, your local electricians can be called on to check and repair, so bigger problems can be prevented,
Not using a Commercial Electrician for Installation
The next issue is poor workmanship. If equipment isn’t installed by a qualified commercial electrician, there can be issues including faulty electrical wiring. Theirs is a service worth paying for.
Overloaded Electrical Circuits
A limited number of accessible sockets and a high volume of electrical equipment mean that overloaded electrical circuits are a growing cause of fire. If this is a familiar scenario in your workplace, your local electricians can install additional sockets to prevent the problem.
Misuse of Electrical Equipment
All electrical equipment comes with an instruction manual, but this isn’t always read and followed. Misuse of equipment accounted for 36% of reported fires. This clearly illustrates the need for regular training on the correct use of workplace equipment.
Electrical Inspection and Testing
PAT testing involves complex procedures that call on specialist knowledge and electrical test equipment. All inspections should be performed by qualified electricians, who will provide recommendations and issue an electrical inspection certificate to prove compliancy.
If your commercial property, letting or public building requires the services of a local, qualified electrician, Watford based ADS Electrical Services are here to assist. We serve Watford, St Albans and surrounding towns in Hertfordshire, so contact us to book an appointment on 01923 604292.
The level of electrical inspection and testing required will be determined by the types of electrical appliances, the nature of use and the operating environment. If you have any questions, we are happy to explain what will be involved.