What You Need To Know About Electrical Safety And Compliance Testing

In both domestic properties and commercial premises, it is the owner or employer’s responsibility to ensure all electrical equipment, be it supplied, used, or permanently installed, is safe and fit for purpose.

What You Need To Know About Electrical Safety And Compliance Testing

From kitchen kettles and power tools to lighting systems and air conditioning units, both portable appliances and fixed installations must be maintained throughout their life, inspected and tested periodically, and where necessary, adhere to specific legal requirements.

Here with more information about electrical safety and compliance testing is Instrotech, an authorised distributor of electrical and environmental test equipment.

Portable Appliance Testing

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) must be carried out on pieces of equipment that are powered via a mains plug. Although this does not include low voltage or battery powered equipment, the charger or power supply may still need to be tested. Even if equipment appears un-portable, size and weight is irrelevant and current policy includes items supplied via a fixed spur too.

While no statutory obligation to carry out PAT testing exists, it is required in order to comply with the following:

  • Common law
  • The Landlord and Tennant Act 1985
  • The Housing Act 2004
  • The Electricity at Work Act 1989
  • The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997
  • The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
  • The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994
  • Your Insurer’s requirements

PAT testing calls for regular visual inspections and a schedule for testing, records of the inspection and testing and a risk assessment that underpins the inspection and test regime. You must also ensure that all equipment is of the correct type and rating, and is complete, undamaged and fit for purpose, which includes any plugs, flexes and fuses.

Fixed Electrical Testing and Periodic Inspections

Fixed electrical testing refers to the inspection and testing of fixed or permanent services and systems that conduct electricity around a building. This must be performed periodically, with results recorded in an Electrical Condition Report (EICR).

This type of compliance testing will look at the entire wiring installation in the fabric of a building, which includes but is not limited to power and lighting circuits, distribution boards, sub mains, and control units. Inspection and testing is an end-to-end process, for example from the main incomer or meter to final circuit, socket outlet, isolator, fused spur, or light fitting.

Along with inspecting the condition, suitability, and compliance of all installed wiring, distribution equipment, and means of isolation or shut down, testing will determine earth continuity, insulation resistance, and polarity.

However, it is important to remember that periodic inspection and testing does not constitute compliance. The Electrical Condition Report will provide details about observations and recommendations, which must then be rectified in order to achieve a Satisfactory Certificate.

The legal requirements relating to fixed electrical testing include:

  • The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
  • The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
  • British Standard BS 7671 the IET Wiring Regulations

As a general rule, inspection and testing should be carried out every 10 years in a domestic property and every five years in commercial premises.

Need More Information or Help?

For more advice regarding conducting electrical safety and compliance testing please do get in touch with the experts at Instrotech today. They have the skills and experience, gained over many years, to help you to get the job done safely and efficiently.

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