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  • Testing electrical installations
  • What to do if you find a fault
  • Keeping records
  • Reducing the risk


The Electricity at Work Regulations Act 1989, require that electrical equipment used in the work environment be maintained in a safe condition. The Health and Safety Executive advises that for offices and low risk environments it is generally sufficient for this 'maintenance' to take the form of a visual inspection of the equipment. For many larger installations, it is a legal requirement that they are tested every year and immediately if a problem is suspected. If you suspect that your equipment has not been tested recently, you should ensure that a full test and service is carried out. You could be held liable if an injury occurs as a result of your negligance. Supplementary electrical testing should also be carried out at less frequent intervals or if a problem is suspected. (See 'Maintaining portable electrical equipment in offices and other low-risk environments' IND(G)236L HSE Books)


If you have identified faults during the inspection that cannot be immediately fixed then the equipment should be taken out of service and you should contact a qualified electrician. This may mean removing the equipment to a secure storage area. If this is not possible then it should be disconnected from its power-supply to prevent its use. In all cases the equipment should be labelled to indicate that it should not be used.


It may be your responsibility to keep a record of electrical testing. This record should include a description of the equipment, dates of each inspection and information about who carried out the inspection. You may also find it useful to record the size of fuse the equipment should have in its plug and to keep a record of any major faults and the steps taken to repair these.

If you are in doubt about the safety of any of your equipment, contact a qualified electrician immediately.


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