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Periodic Inspection and Testing – How Often Is Enough?

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periodic inspection and testing – how often is enough?

Ensuring your business is up to safety standards is the responsibility of every employer.

Your electrical appliances, installations and emergency systems need periodic testing and inspection to keep employees safe and your business compliant. But how often is often enough? Read on as we take a closer look.

What is periodic inspection and testing?

In business, it is essential that employees and equipment are protected from hazards in the workplace. This can be done by making sure equipment is tested periodically and is fit for use. Electrical installations, for example, need to be frequently inspected and serviced for your business to stay compliant with industry standards.

These checks need to be carried out by a competent, fully qualified technician, with knowledge of the risks and dangers and trained to a high standard.

A periodic inspection will:

  • Expose if any of your electrical circuits or systems are at risk of getting overloaded.
  • Discover any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards.
  • Find any defective electrical work in a building.
  • Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding.
  • Check electronic systems for any faulty wires.

Why is periodic inspection and testing required?

The main reason is to ensure the health and safety of everyone in your building or place of work. Every year, electric shocks are the cause of several deaths and countless injuries up and down the country. Routine periodic inspection and testing are therefore essential. Not only will it prevent accidents, but it will also mean your business is less at risk of personal injury claims.

But there are other reasons too:

  • To meet the criteria of insurance providers. Failure to do periodic testing could impact your coverage or raise insurance costs.
  • Detects wear and tear early, preventing unexpected equipment and system failures.
  • Helps to extend the lifespan of electrical systems and equipment.
  • Reduces the need for emergency repairs, which can be costly for small businesses.
  • Helps you optimise your energy usage and reduce costs by detecting inefficient equipment.
  • Demonstrates your business’s commitment to safety and quality
  • Enhances your reputation with clients, partners and stakeholders.

How often is it required?

Inspection and testing are not held to a set time. It can vary for different buildings and environments.  they must be carried out periodically to ensure that health and safety measures are followed and that electrical systems and equipment work properly.

To know if your systems need an inspection, consider the following:

  • Risks and hazard levels in the environment – Work environments where employees regularly work with water, chemicals or other hazardous materials may require more frequent inspections.
  • Contractor recommendations – Electrical contractors often provide guidelines based on their professional assessments and industry best practices. Following these recommendations can help you maintain the reliability and safety of your electrical systems.
  • Frequency of equipment use – Equipment that your business uses frequently or continuously is at greater risk of wearing out or developing dangerous faults. High-usage environments cover a broad range of different industries, from manufacturing plants to data centres or commercial kitchens.
  • Building type – The frequency of inspections will depend on the type of building your small business is operating from. For instance, a small retail shop, café or office will have different electrical demands compared to a manufacturing unit.
  • Advice from The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)The HSE provides guidelines and advice to business owners on the frequency of inspections to ensure you remain complain with health and safety legislation. Regularly consulting HSE advice is strongly recommended to stay up to date with current standards and legal obligations.

Electrical equipment

Portable appliance testing (PAT) covers all portable electrical equipment to make sure it is safe to use and stays compliant. The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) don’t require PAT testing as a legal requirement but recommend regular testing to ensure safety for employees and employers. For example, a kettle should be tested every 2 years but larger appliances can have a longer time between PAT testing (4 years).

Emergency lighting

Anything with emergency in the title should be in constant, full working order. Needed when other systems fail, it is a legal requirement that emergency lighting is tested and maintained regularly.

UK businesses are required to test emergency lighting at least once a year. It is a good idea, however, to test more than this and many businesses choose to have monthly emergency lighting tests.

Fixed wire testing

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) assesses and classifies your electrics into 3 risk level categories – C1 being the most serious to c3, suggesting improvements are needed. A qualified, competent contractor will recommend the duration in between inspections based on the type of installation, frequency of use, surrounding environment and other factors.

Fire alarms

There is a lot more to testing a fire alarm, than pressing the button for a sound test. There needs to be a full inspection of the fire alarm panel, smoke detectors, sirens and alarms – all within BS 5839 safety standards.

It is a good habit for tests to be carried out twice a year, to make sure that all system components are in full working order and ready when needed.

Stay compliant with Volta

Periodic inspection and testing are incredibly important to keep your business safe and to provide documentation that demonstrates your commitment to safety. Regular inspection helps identify electrical hazards before they become serious problems, and gives you the peace of mind that your electrical systems are functioning correctly and safely.

By investing in periodic inspections and testing, you are:

  • Ensuring safety: Regular checks prevent electrical accidents, fires and other hazards, and guarantee the safety of your employees.
  • Maintaining compliance: Keeping up with inspection and testing means your business meets legal and regulatory requirements, helping you avoid fines and legal problems.
  • Enhancing reliability: Identifying and addressing potential issues before they become bigger problems helps maintain the reliability and efficiency of your business.
  • Documenting due diligence: Detailed records of inspections and tests proves that you are taking the necessary steps to manage electrical safety.

Volta Compliance has a wealth of experience in installations and equipment, making us your ideal partner for periodic electrical inspections. Our team of skilled professionals is dedicated to helping businesses maintain safe and compliant electrical systems.

Get a bespoke quote based on your requirements by calling our team on 0113 397 1361 or emailing [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.