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Who Can Test Emergency Lighting?

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who can test emergency lighting?

Emergency lighting is a vital facility to prepare your premises for an unexpected situation. Whether it’s a power cut or an outage triggered by a leak, emergency lights will illuminate and signpost an exit route, so staff can safely exit the building.

But it’s not simply enough to have an emergency lighting system in place. It needs to be tested regularly to make sure it’s fully functional whenever required. In this post, we’ll discuss who can test emergency lighting, what the test entails and how often it’s required.

2 types of emergency light test

Before outlining who can test emergency lighting, it’s important to note the two different types of tests required on a regular basis. Not least because this impacts who can undertake emergency lighting tests – more on this later.

Duration test

First and foremost, emergency lights should be given a full three-hour duration test at least once a year. This ensures they can operate for long enough to let people out of the building, as well as providing time for emergency service workers to enter and exit the building following the initial evacuation.

Businesses that operate in ‘normal working hours’, such as 9-5, may choose to perform this test at close of play – after most employees have left the building. Why? It means that your lights’ charge will be depleted in the evening, so they can be fully recharged overnight ready for the next working day.

Alternatively, your business might operate around the clock – such as a warehouse or hotel. In this case, emergency light testing is recommended in the early morning. That way, you’ll have lots of daylight while lights are recharging – so there will still be natural light in case of an emergency.

Visual inspection

As a supplement to the all-important three-hour test, emergency lights can be checked more regularly by switching off your power supply to activate the system. This will allow for a basic visual check and identify any faulty components. However, it is by no means a replacement for the full duration test.

Here are some of the steps involved when testing emergency lighting with a visual inspection:

  • Activate the emergency testing unit using the correct key.
  • Some units will have a timer function to switch on all lights for ten minutes.
  • Ensure all emergency lights are illuminated to their full brightness – you should have a record of where all emergency lights are situated to avoid any being missed.
  • Switch off your emergency test unit.
  • Inspect all emergency lights of a small LED charging light.
  • Make note of any lights that aren’t fully illuminated or aren’t charging.
  • Arrange prompt repairs to resolve any issues and keep your emergency lighting system working properly.

who can test emergency lighting

Who can test emergency lighting?

Whether it’s a full three-hour test or a more frequent inspection, emergency lighting should always be tested by a competent person. For a full three-hour test, this will be someone who has the relevant training, qualifications and experience to inspect, maintain and service emergency lights.

The person or company testing your emergency lights needs to be familiar with the BS 5266 standards. These are the standards with which all emergency lighting installations need to comply.

The best way to check for competence is to look for relevant accreditations and certification, such as…


The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) is a go-to body for competent electricians. If you’re looking for a company or professional who can test emergency lighting, all NICEIC contractors have been vetted, assessed and certified for your peace of mind.

Contractors registered with the NICEIC will usually display the logo on their website. However, you can also use their online search tool to find trusted electrical contractors near you. Simply enter your postcode or search a specific company by name.


When it comes to electrical systems – especially emergency lighting – you want to ensure complete safety on your side. As such, accreditation schemes like SafeContractor are another trust-mark to look out for.

SafeContractor ensures that all members work to the highest health and safety standards, so you have complete peace of mind when choosing who can test your emergency lighting.

How often should emergency lighting be tested?

The above guidance covers who can test emergency lighting for a full three-hour duration test. This is typically recommended at least once a year, meaning most businesses get a trusted electrical contractor like Volta Compliance to take care of it.

On the other hand, a simple visual inspection is usually carried out on a monthly basis. Because it doesn’t require hands-on testing or close-up inspection, it can be handled by a competent person who is responsible for your site. This could be the site manager or an on-premises electrician.

However, you should ensure that maintenance and repairs are only attempted with proper training and qualifications. Don’t attempt to make ‘quick fixes’ after noticing that a light has gone out, as this can put people and your premises at risk.

If you’re unsure about how to perform a visual inspection, your chosen contractor can provide more regular checks for your peace of mind or advise you on how to test emergency lighting.

Testing emergency lighting across Leeds

At Volta Compliance, we’re dedicated to keeping businesses across Leeds compliant and safe. Our team of qualified, experienced electricians can test your emergency lighting on an annual basis, or more frequently if you would prefer.

Whatever your requirements, we’ll work out an ongoing testing and maintenance plan that provides complete peace of mind for your business and your staff. Contact us today to talk more about emergency lighting and how we can help.

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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.