Testing and inspection

Electricity can kill. Each year about 1000 accidents at work involving electric shock or burns are reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Around 30 of these are fatal. Most of these fatalities arise from contact with overhead or underground power cables.

Even non-fatal shocks can cause severe and permanent injury. Shocks from faulty equipment may lead to falls from ladders, scaffolds or other work platforms. Those using electricity may not be the only ones at risk: poor electrical installations and faulty electrical appliances can lead to fires which may also cause death or injury to others. Most of these accidents can be avoided by careful planning and straightforward precautions.

Ensure that the electrical installation is safe
  • Install new electrical systems to a suitable standard, eg BS 7671 Requirements for electrical installations, and then maintain them in a safe condition;

  • Existing installations should also be properly maintained;

  • Provide enough socket-outlets – overloading socket-outlets by using adaptors can cause fires.

Carry out preventative maintenance

All electrical equipment and installations should be maintained to prevent danger. It is strongly recommended that this includes an appropriate system of visual inspection and, where necessary, testing. By concentrating on a simple, inexpensive system of looking for visible signs of damage or faults, most of the electrical risks can be controlled. This will need to be backed up by testing as necessary.

It is recommended that fixed installations are inspected and tested periodically by a competent person.

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