Legal Requirements

The legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance and fixed wire installation testing is the

  • Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

All of these regulations are enforced by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

The HSE aims to prevent electrical injuries by enforcing health and safety law and by promoting good practice in the design, use and maintenance of electrical systems.

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health & Safety at Work Act puts the duty of care upon both the employer and the employee "to ensure the health, safety and wellfare of all persons at work and in protecting persons other than persons at work against risks to health or safety arising out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work". This includes the self employed.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999: Risk Assessment

"(1) Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of:

(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and

(b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking."

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989: Regulation systems, work activities and protective equipment

"(1) All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger.

(2) As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger.

(3) Every work activity, including operation, use and maintenance of a system and work near a system, shall be carried out in such a manner as not to give rise, so far as is reasonably practicable, to danger.

(4) Any equipment provided under these Regulations for the purpose of protecting persons at work on or near electrical equipment shall be suitable for the use for which it is provided, be maintained in a condition suitable for that use, and be properly used."

The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare Regulations) 1992

The Workplace Regulations are broad and Regulation 5 also places an emphasis on maintenance of systems and equipment

"5 (1) The workplace and the equipment, devices and systems to which this regulation applies shall be maintained (including cleaned as appropriate) in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

(2) Where appropriate, the equipment, devices and systems to which this regulation applies shall be subject to a suitable system of maintenance."

Scope of the legislation

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 apply to all electrical equipment used in, or associated with, places of work. The scope extends from distribution systems down to the smallest piece of electrical equipment.

It is clear that there is a requirement to inspect and test all types of electrical equipment in all work situations in order to keep the employer and employee safe.

In addition to the above legislative requirements some or all of the following types of organisations may also require that an electrical inspection and test programme is implemented:

  • Insurance Companies
  • Mortgage Lenders
  • Licensing Authorities
  • Public Bodies
  • Landlords

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