DRF Electrical

Electrical Contractors to Commerce and Industry Installation, Maintenance & Testing, Fire Alarms, Emergency Lighting & Life Systems

Electrical compliance: what businesses need to know

Electrical compliance is hugely important for all businesses. Business owners and employers have a legal responsibility to ensure their premises are safe for their employees, visitors and customers.

Electrical installations in commercial and industrial premises are required by law to meet certain safety and performance criteria laid out in British Standards (BS) 7671 and employment legislation. Compliance is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

So how do you ensure your business premises comply with all the relevant electrical legislation, regulations and standards? We take a look at what businesses need to know about electrical compliance.

How to ensure electrical compliance

The best way to comply is to ensure that all fixed and portable electrical installations and appliances are regularly tested, inspected and maintained by a qualified electrical professional, preferably one approved by NICEIC (the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contractors). They will be well versed in all the relevant regulations and know which tests need to be carried to ensure electrical compliance.

Routine visual inspections can be carried out on both fixed installations and portable appliances to pick up on faults and defects, but there are also specific tests that need to be carried out too.

New Installation Testing

Newly-installed fixed electrical installations or new circuits added to an existing installation must be initially verified as safe to use in accordance with BS (British Standard) 7671.

Periodic Inspection, Fixed Wire Testing and EICR

Existing installations must also be checked that they are safe to use. Also known as a Periodic Inspection, Fixed Wire Testing looks at the overall electrical system within a building to ensure it complies with legislation including the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It can also form part of an insurance or licensing contract.

Fixed Wire Testing looks at electrical circuits, equipment that distributes electricity, and hard wiring, including lighting and power. It identifies faulty installations or overloaded circuits which could cause a potential safety risk.

The frequency of Fixed Wire Testing depends on the type of premises and installations within it, but in general the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends an inspection every three or five years.

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) will be produced following the testing.

PAT Testing

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) ensures that portable appliances within the workplace are in good condition and safe to use.

PAT Testing must be carried out by a ‘competent individual’ and it is the business owner or employer’s responsibility to ensure this is the case.

Emergency lighting testing

Businesses are required by law to provide emergency lighting as a back-up during the failure of normal lighting along routes and exits. According to British Standard BS 5266-1, emergency lighting should be visually inspected and tested for full duration once a year, along with a short test every month. Records should be kept of all tests and repairs.

Fire alarm systems testing

It is a legal requirement for businesses to install fire detection and alarm systems in their premises and to ensure they are tested and maintained every six months. A Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) includes regular inspection, testing and maintenance of the fire alarm system.

DRF Electrical provides a range of services to help businesses and commercial premises comply with current legislation and standards. We are NICEIC approved and our electricians are experienced and fully qualified to carry out testing, inspections and maintenance, and to provide electrical reports such as the EICR. We regularly invest in up-to-date testing equipment to ensure accurate results and provide peace of mind that your business is compliant.

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