If you are an employer, you will be only too well aware of the tangle of regulations and rules with which you are surrounded, mainly concerning your duty of care to your employees. These seem to increase every year, and some of them can be a headache and take up a lot of your time. However, the rules about electrical safety in the workplace are comparatively easy to comply with.
Electrical safety is mainly governed by the 1989 Electricity at Work Regulations, which make clear your obligations to maintain electrical systems and appliances safely. Among other things, the regulations insist that electrical equipment and tools must be safe to use. Although regular testing is not explicitly insisted on, in practice regular testing is the only way to ensure compliance with the regulations.
Testing Of Portable Appliances
One of the main areas of testing involves portable electrical appliances, many of which are used by employees on a regular basis. These include appliances which inherently carry high risk, such as drills, but also any frequently-used appliances, such as desk fans, or kettles for staff to make tea and coffee. These items, plus their cables and sockets, need to be checked on a regular basis — this is known as PAT or Portable Appliance Testing, and must be done by a competent electrical contractor.
Nowadays most electricians use computerised instruments for Portable Appliance Testing. These are designed to ensure that testing of even the most sensitive items, such as IT equipment, is done safely without causing any damage. The results of the tests are collected in a downloadable software format, for the maximum convenience of the business owner.
Remedial Work On The Spot
If the tests indicate that some remedial work needs to be done, the contractor will usually do it on the spot, so that there is no need to “Fail” appliances for minor reasons. These jobs could include replacing damaged plugs or replacing fuses. Most testers will attach a small sticker to the appliance, indicating that it is safe to use and giving the date when the next test is required.
Nothing To Fear
If you are committed to maintaining a safe environment for your employees, the best thing you can do is contact a competent commercial electrician. This way you can ensure that the testing will be done efficiently and fast, and will cause the least possible disruption to the activities and work of your staff. In addition, of course, you can be sure that you have nothing to fear from the Health and Safety inspectors.
Article brought to you by Expert Electrician, your friendly North London based commercial electricians.