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Business Electrical Testing – Everything You Need to Know

Posted in
Date
06/12/2021
business electrical testing – everything you need to know

Business electrical testing is an important responsibility for any company owner or site manager. But at the same time, it can be both ambiguous and overwhelming if you’re not familiar with all the ins and outs.

To make things a little easier, this post will run through all of the basics when it comes to electrical testing for businesses, including what needs testing, why it’s needed, and how often it’s necessary.

What needs testing?

Installation

The first factor to consider when it comes to business electrical testing is your electrical installation. Put simply, this is the electrical system that distributes electricity throughout your site – including wiring, circuits and sockets.

The relevant test in this case is an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), which comprises a thorough inspection of your installation along with a certificate detailing any required or recommended work. This assessment ensures compliance with regulatory standards and provides important insights into the overall safety of your electrical infrastructure. From here, you will be able to make informed decisions about maintenance and upgrades.

The main benefits of an EICR are as follows:

  • You’ll be able to find underlying fire hazards or shock risks.
  • Detection of any overloaded circuits or equipment.
  • Identifying defective equipment that has eroded through general wear and tear.
  • Determining whether there is a lack of bonding or earthing.

All of these issues can result in serious consequences. An EICR is especially important in commercial buildings. If something goes wrong, fire can spread quickly, especially in a factory or manufacturing environment. There are many reasons for this, including:

  • The presence of especially flammable materials like paper and wood.
  • Electrical equipment in commercial buildings is more prone to wear and tear.
  • Commercial buildings can get dusty. Dust can cause electrical equipment to overheat.

During an EICR test, a trained engineer will take a look at your consumer unit (a fusebox or distribution panel), exposed and hidden cabling, as well as any accessories such as light fittings and sockets.

Frequency: The frequency for EICR testing can be anywhere between 1-5 years. The recommended timeframe will be outlined in your report.

Appliances

Next, there’s your appliances. This includes everything from small equipment like kettles and computers up to large appliances like refrigerators and photocopiers – anything that is plugged into a wall socket or generator.

These items should all be checked by Portable Appliance Testing (PAT), which involves a visual inspection and electrical test. Safe items will be documented with a due date for their next test, while failed items will be highlighted for urgent repair. It is important to proactively address any faults with your appliances, to ensure the safety of employees and visitors.

A PAT test can unveil several possible issues, such as:

  • Overheating components.
  • Loose connections.
  • Damaged cables.
  • Insulation degradation.
  • Earth continuity problems.

Frequency: The duration between PAT tests depends on the type of equipment, its environment, and how it’s used. A qualified professional will recommend the next due date for testing equipment as part of the test.

Safety equipment

Safety equipment is another key aspect of business electrical testing. While you might not use them anywhere near as often, your fire alarms and emergency lighting need to be on standby at all times for your business. Conducting regular inspections and tests for this safety equipment is important to make sure it functions at all times. An emergency can strike at any time, and you will need these key pieces of equipment functional to protect both your employees and assets.

You can perform a visual inspection yourself by shutting off power to activate your emergency lights, or an audible inspection by pressing the test button on your fire alarm. While basic inspections like shutting off power or pressing buttons will give you a general idea of how well they are working, these methods won’t uncover any underlying issues.

This is why professional inspection is so important. Professionals will be able to provide you with comprehensive assessments, identifying potential faults and making sure that your fire alarms and emergency lighting are fully functional. Trusting qualified professionals for these tasks will ensure the readiness of your safety equipment for the moments when it matters most.

Frequency: Fire alarm servicing is recommended twice a year, while emergency lights should have a full three-hour duration test at least once a year.

Benefits of electrical testing for businesses

Electrical testing has a number of clear benefits for any business. Let’s explore some of these.

Safety of electrical equipment

Safeguarding your employees and any visitors should always be a top priority. By conducting electrical tests on equipment, you will ensure that it is safe to use. This will provide you and your employees peace of mind that anyone working on your site is safe.

Adherence to regulations

Conducting frequent electrical tests will keep you compliant with the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) and Health and Safety at Work Act (1974). Your business will have documented evidence of the steps you’ve taken to make sure your workplace is safe when it comes to electrics.

Preventing unexpected issues

If you skip regular inspections, your electrical infrastructure is at a higher risk of developing issues. This means that your important electrical equipment can fail at random, resulting in unplanned downtime and expensive maintenance. These faults can have long-lasting implications that can severely impact the efficiency of your business. Regular testing helps to mitigate these risks and safeguards your business.

Insurance requirements

You should also remember that some commercial building insurance providers will expect you to carry out regular electrical testing. Avoiding them could mean that they will not cover you if something goes wrong. It is common practice for insurance companies to receive an updated EICR report as proof that you have up-to-date and safe electrical equipment.

Business electrical testing in Yorkshire

If you want to keep your business safe, efficient and compliant, speak to the team at Volta Compliance. We provide professional electrical testing and inspection to businesses in Leeds and the surrounding areas.

From your installation and appliances to fire alarms and lighting, we’ll make sure everything is tested, inspected and up to scratch, so you can focus on what you do best.

Call us on 0113 397 1361 or email [email protected].

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Richard Carr Volta Compliance
Richard Carr
Managing Director
Richard is the Director of Volta Compliance. He is a fully qualified approved electrician graded with the JIB. Richard has over 20 years electrical experience working on commercial and industrial installations.
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