According to the Electricity at Work Regulations, it is your responsibility as the owner of a business to ensure that all electrical systems, so far as is reasonably practicable, be of safe construction and maintained in that state to prevent danger. There is no specific guidance as to how to prove you are fulfilling these requirements, but if anything happens you will be expected to provide proof that you have done so.
Legally, you can be held liable for any visitor or employee electrocution on your premises unless you’re able to demonstrate that you have taken adequate care to maintain the electrics of your premises.
In this article we will discuss two ways to reliably demonstrate you are fulfilling your duty of care to your employees and customers. Insurers will often look for these to show that you are a responsible business owner and a reliable risk, so therefore insurable.
The Electricity at Work Regulations require that employers ensure the safety of workplace electrical items and that this equipment must be tested regularly to make sure it’s safe to use. This is most commonly done by a PAT test, as is recommended by the UK Health and Safety Executive and would be expected by most UK insurers.
PAT stands for ‘Portable Appliance Testing’ and the process includes a visual inspection, insulation check and earth continuity test. The PAT test will identify any wear and tear that could cause risk of injury and most electricians will mark PAT test passes with a green sticker on the device. If the PAT test is failed, then the device should not be used, and should be replaced.
It’s considered good practice to have a PAT test carried out every 12 months by a registered electrician. Although not explicitly a legal requirement, PAT testing helps to make sure that you don’t fall foul of the court for failing to demonstrate compliance with Health and Safety regulations.
A lesser known expectation that insurers have of businesses is to hold a current certificate confirming the safety of their fixed wiring systems. Insurers like to know businesses hold one of these in order to demonstrate that they take care of their premises and are less likely to suffer a loss due to negligence of their electrics.
The certificate that insurers ask for can be referred to as many things; the IEE certificate, the Electrical Installation Certificate, Electrical Safety Certificate, but it is essentially a regular inspection of a premises’ fixed wiring systems. It is recommended that the inspection is carried out at least every 5 years by a registered electrician. Many businesses are not aware that this is the best way to demonstrate that they maintain their electric wiring and may have certificates that are years out of date.
Similar to the PAT test, this is not an explicit legal requirement but is one of very few ways to demonstrate due care and responsibility in the maintenance of your premises’ electrical systems. By not carrying out a full wiring inspection with a registered electrician every 5 years you may leave yourself without insurance cover or open to legal ramifications if something goes wrong and it’s deemed to be your fault for not carrying out routine maintenance.
Want to discuss this further or in need of a quote? Give us a call on 020 3883 7976 from Monday-Friday, 9am-5.30pm to speak with a member of our team.
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