Health and safety laws apply to all businesses, no matter the size. When it comes to electrical safety, ensuring your facility complies with commercial electrical regulations is critical to maintaining a safe environment for employees and members of the public.
All electrical systems deteriorate with age and use, increasing the risk of potentially fatal hazards, including electrocution and electrical fires. Faulty appliances and exposure to wires can result in injury or death. Due to the risks associated with inadequate or poorly maintained electric systems, managers of public and commercial properties have a legal duty of care to adhere to electrical safety regulations. Failure to comply not only increases the risk of an accident occurring, but can also incur serious penalties; from fines to jail sentences.
Electrical Regulations For Commercial Properties
By law all public and commercial properties are required to adhere to responsibilities set out under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, supported by three key regulations:
- The Electricity at Work Regulations (EAW) 1989
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
In addition, there are codes of practice covering the standards for work performed on electrical systems, including:
- IET Wiring Regulations, Requirements for Electrical Installations (BS7671)
- IET Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment
Understanding Your Responsibilities
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places the responsibility on employers to do everything practical and possible to maintain safety in the workplace. This includes maintaining the safe working order of equipment and systems.
As the scope of responsibility is a little vague, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 have been added to provide highly specific instructions relating to the design, construction, maintenance and alteration of any electrical system. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 outlines risk assessment responsibilities, and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 covers the use and maintenance of electrical equipment.
How To Put The Regulations Into Practice
To be able to demonstrate compliance you will need to perform the following tasks:
- Obtain an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). This information is required to evaluate and document the suitability and condition of all electrical systems and equipment.
- Use this information to create a risk assessment, accounting for the use of the building and any environmental hazards.
- Only allow work to be performed on or near electrical systems by persons with the correct training, information and safety equipment. An NICEIC accredited contractor will ensure your electrical systems and equipment meet the required safety standards and codes of practice.
- Take action to rectify and remove hazards by replacing inadequate systems and isolating faulty equipment from the power source.
- Put protective measures in place; including alarm systems, emergency lighting and lightning protection systems.
- Provide the correct signage to highlight hazards and suitability for use.
- Perform and document regular inspection, testing, maintenance, repair and alteration.
- Hold the correct certification.
Choosing An Electrical Contractor
While the regulations are lengthy and complicated, putting them into practice doesn’t need to be. An electrical services provider, like On Electrical Contractors, will help you to comply with all of your duties and provide facilities such as tablet reporting, electronic certification and retest reminders to simplify management of commercial electrical regulations.