To prevent any danger caused by faulty electrical systems and other activities related to such, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR), urges employers, employees and the self-employed to be dutiful. But the EAWR can only do so much with regards to issues on electrical inspection and testing alone. Regulation 4 says that employers should take all needed steps ‘so far as reasonably practicable’ to prevent danger arising from electrical systems and work activities on or near them.

Here are tips as to where duty holders should go for their electrical inspection and testing and when they need to handle defects depending on how severe the problem is:

BEST PRACTICE

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) made the Memorandum of Guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 which serves as an advisory document of best practice. This, in turn, references the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET) Wiring Regulations (BS 7671) as “a code of practice which is widely recognised and accepted in the UK and compliance with them is likely to achieve compliance with the relevant aspects of the EAWR”.

IGNORE AT YOUR PERIL

The Guidance and the referenced IET Regulations are only advisory, as duty holders are required to prove that they took all steps ‘so far as reasonably practicable’ as per the new sentencing guidelines that now state that courts need to consider the risk of harm and the accountability of defendants.

THE IET REGULATIONS, DEFECT CODES AND EXPECTED TIME FRAME

The following should be included and the standardised codes that should be part of all electrical testing and reports:
  • Test results
  • Condition Report: This will state how severe the defects are against the standards.
  • Schedule of Defects: These will be given the codes C1,C2,C3, and FI terms of severity of defects and timescales for rectification

The time when you have to carry out repairs depends on the Schedule of Defect code.

C1: DANGER PRESENT (REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ACTION)

When danger is present, immediate action is advised without delay to fix the defect or take any other appropriate step to remove the danger.

Examples:

  • Exposed live parts
  • Live conductive parts due to faults

C2: POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS (ACTION SHOULD USUALLY BE TAKEN WITHIN 30 DAYS)

As we all know, the installation may not pose any immediate risk but urgent action is required to remove any potential danger.

Examples:

  • No reliable and/or effective ways of earthing for installation
  • No earthing at a socket outlet
  • Ineffective overcurrent protection

C3: IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED: NO TIME LIMIT PROVIDED.

This applies when present on the case is a clear non-compliance with a current safety standard is found. Remedial action would significantly improve safety but there is no immediate or potential danger, Remedial work should be given consideration.

Examples:

  • No RCD protection for a socket-outlet that supply portable or mobile equipment for outdoor use
  • No RCD protection for cables at a depth of less than 50mm from a surface of a wall where cables do not incorporate an earthed metallic covering, not enclosed in earthed metalwork, or are not mechanically protected against penetration

FI: FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION: THE ISSUE SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

If a potential safety issue has been found but is not yet fully identified, further investigation regarding the matter is highly recommended.

Examples:

  • Characteristics of electricity supply do not conform to supply industry norms
  • Presence of circuits that cannot be readily identified or traced
To understand and achieve compliance when it comes to your electrical inspection and testing responsibilities is to know what your duties are based on the law. If you need any assistance and want to more about the process, you may visit the official website of EJS Electrical.