As a property owner or landlord there is an obligation to make sure that the electric equipment used in a building is safe to use. There are regulations covering electrical safety, although these can sometimes be a bit unclear. So, what are your responsibilities regarding safety testing.
First some stats. In 2015/16 there were 1380 fatalities from electrical fires. Most of these caused by incorrectly installed or wired cookers, ovens and heaters, with overloaded sockets as the next major cause.
A PAT test, PAT stands for Portable Appliance Testing, is a routine inspection of electrical appliances to check they are safe to use. Its purpose is to prevent electrical accidents in the workplace. A full PAT test should include both a visual inspection and a check using specialist PAT testing equipment. What needs to be tested? The easy answer is that if you have an appliance that has a plug on it that is intended to be connected to a wall socket or generator, it needs to be PAT tested. The type of items that need testing would monitors, printers, PCs, kettles and larger items like photocopiers and vending machines. A cordless power tool would not need to be PAT tested but its battery charger that plug into the wall for power should be. Larger items that appear to be fixed such as a heated towel rail or built-in dishwasher still qualify as portable because they plug into a power source. Extension cables are the most commonly tested items as they are among the most common sources of safety hazards. The rules also apply to 110 volt and 3 phase equipment.
In February 2018 the government published guidelines to reinforce powers in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to set and enforce tougher electrical safety standard in rented properties. A landlord is required to ensure that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition throughout its duration. This includes light fittings, sockets and plugs, as well as internal wiring. Also that any appliance in use in the building is safe to use. Many landlords insist on PAT testing of a tenants own appliances to cover this. Until 2018 only Houses in Multiple Occupation needed a periodic inspection carried out on the property every five years. Now the government guidelines recommend that this be extended to all private rented properties.
The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) put responsibilities on both employer and employee regarding safety in the workplace. Employers must ensure that all electrical equipment is safe for work activities and for their intended purpose, and that it is properly installed and maintained. Employees have a responsibility to report any problems they spot. The regulations apply to all businesses of any size.
Electrical safety is a potentially big issue in any building, but even more so where many people either live or work there. Express Property Services can help with all aspects of electrical installation and repair, from simple fault finding up to isolating and making safe the supply in empty properties. Get in touch to talk about your requirements.
This post was written by Express Property Services