To keep your emergency lighting in a safe working condition you must make provisions for inspection, testing and maintenance. Emergency lighting is a legal requirement for all commercial properties and must be available in the event of a power failure.
The problem is that while most properties have emergency lighting installed, because it is not included under an Electric Installation Condition Report (EICR), testing is often overlooked. Faults and failures can go undetected for long periods of time, with businesses completely unaware that they are in breach of Fire Safety Regulations. Fire safety officers have the right to view records of emergency lighting testing during an inspection and will enforce the law should they discover a breach.
Regular testing is required to ensure your emergency lighting meets BS 5266-1 standards.
What Happens During Emergency Lighting Testing?
Emergency lighting tests are carried out by simulating a power failure to the mains power supply. The emergency system will switch to battery supply. During the test all emergency signage and luminaires should light up, enabling visual checks to be performed. All the lights should be present, clean and working properly. Once mains power has been reinstated the emergency lights should recharge and this should also be checked.
The Difference Between Monthly & Annual Testing
A monthlyemergency lighting test entails switching off the mains power for a short time, but sufficiently long enough to establish whether all the illuminated signs and luminaires are activating properly. All companies should perform these checks in accordance with BS EN 50172:2004 / BS 5266-8:2004 codes of practice. A responsible person could be trained and appointed within an organisation, to manage and document monthly checks to the required standards.
An annual emergency lighting test will last for approximately 3 hours and should be ideally be performed outside of normal working hours wherever possible. This is to remove the risk associated with a genuine power failure or fire occurring before the batteries on the emergency system have fully recharged.
At the end of the test the emergency lighting should be fully operational to meet the requirements for compliance. By law any failures occurring within this time must be investigated and recorded in the system log book. To establish the reason for the fault and to record recommendations for rectification, an approved electrical engineer should perform the annual test and provide certification.
Choosing The Right Service To Stay Compliant
Both monthly and annual emergency lighting tests are required. The annual emergency lighting test must be conducted by an electrical engineer and the monthly function records are required in addition to this.
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 any person responsible for maintaining a commercial building has a duty to maintain working emergency lighting and appoint a fully instructed and qualified individual to perform testing and maintenance on the system.
At On Electrical Contractors, we specialise in supporting businesses with all aspects of electrical regulation compliance. An annual emergency lighting test can often be performed at the same time as fire alarm testing to increase efficiency, with reports and certification provided as evidence of due diligence.
To find out more about the range of services performed by our highly trained NICEIC approved contractors, contact us today on 0161 366 1435.