In the UK, installation and maintenance of electrical systems in the workplace are regulated by the Health & Safety Executive. Responsibility for electrical safety in any commercial capacity is placed firmly on employers. Specific requirements are few, but there’s little room for doubt about an employer’s duty of care.
Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 says,
It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees … It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.
The following regulations are in place under the Health and Safety at Work Act:
- Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
- Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations 1992
- Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Electrical Installation Condition Reporting
There are two ways you can ensure that your electrical installation is in good working order. You need to do both.
The first is to make frequent visual checks. Keep your eyes open for corroded insulation, burned sockets, and loose fixtures; look out for sparks when plugs are inserted into, or removed from, sockets. If you see signs of faults, have them checked out and fixed by a qualified electrician.
The second procedure is a regular Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). A qualified electrician will test every part of your installation using specialist instruments, and at the end of the inspection, you’ll be provided with a report. Each observation made by the electrician will have one of these codes against it:
- C1: (Danger present. Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required.)
- C2: (Potentially dangerous. Urgent remedial action required.)
- C3: (Improvement recommended.)
- F1: (Further investigation required without delay.)
Remedial work must be carried out before your installation is deemed compliant. On completion, the certified electrician will issue an electrical installation certificate (EIC) or a minor works certificate (MWC). This paperwork should be kept with your EICR as proof that the required work has been carried out in accordance with current wiring regulations. And it should be made available to the contractor who conducts the next inspection.
There’s no legislation governing health and safety in the home. So, for all of us, it’s all too easy to forget about maintaining our electrical installations. However, there are guidelines. Home owners are advised to have their installations checked every 10 years – or with any change of occupancy. Between inspections, it’s important to keep an eye open for any signs of ageing or malfunctioning in your electrical installation.
How often should electrical installations be tested?
Domestic accommodation 10 years / change of occupancy
Caravans 3 years
Rented accommodation 5 years / change of occupancy
House in multiple occupancy (HMO) 5 years (legal requirement)
Office 5 years
Shop 5 years
Laboratory 5 years
Agricultural/horticultural 3 years
Fire alarm 1 year
Emergency lighting 3 years
For more information about periodic inspections for domestic or commercial properties, give us a call on Norwich 01603 559 311. Alternatively, send us a message, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.