The short answer is yes, If you are a business of any kind, be that large or a small or even a self employed individual then you are required too.
The responsibilities for safety of persons at work have been prescribed at great length in much legislation in recent years. But it is not limited to just employees; there is also a responsibility to members of the public who may use your facilities or services.
Of specific relevance to Electrical Maintenance are: –
- The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
- The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
- The Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
- The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 puts the duty of care upon both the employer & the employee to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self-employed.
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states:
“Every employer shall make suitable & sufficient assessment of:” (a) the risks to the health & safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst at work, & (b) the risks to ensure the health & safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him or his undertaking.”
The Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: –
“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order & in good repair.”
The PUWER 1998 covers most risks that can result from using work equipment. With respect to risks from electricity, compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is likely to achieve compliance with the PUWER 1998. PUWER 1998 only applies to work equipment used by workers at work. This includes all work equipment (fixed, transportable or portable) connected to a source of electrical energy. PUWER does not apply to fixed installations in a building. The electrical safety of these installations is dealt with only by the Electricity at Work Regulations.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states: –
“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.” “‘System’ means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy & includes such source & such equipment” “‘Electrical Equipment’ includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy.”
Scope of the legislation: –
It is clear that the combination of the HSW Act 1974, the PUWER 1998 & the EAW 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 & test all types of electrical equipment in all work situations. Since 2015 the in-service inspection of electrical equipment 4th edition makes it clear that it is not just portable appliances that need testing but also fixed appliances that have for many years been missed from test procedures.