Introduction to Electrical Inspection and Testing
The regular Inspection and Testing of an electrical installation has been recognised as an basic part of ensuring compliance with the requirements of The Electricity At Work Regulations 1989.
As most electrical installations suffer damage and decline throughout their operational life an electrical inspection and test will be required to confirm the safe operation of the installed installation.
The decision for the inspection and test to take place is usually instigated by a company assessing their Health and Safety policy. As it is a requirement of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 that electrical systems installed in places of work comply with the requirements of The Electricity At Work Regulations 1989, more companies are introducing people and procedures to ensure that the company, where reasonably practicable, introduce a Proactive Maintenance Programme and consequently creates a safe working ecosystem.
Most electrical installations are designed and constructed to a very high standard. But once the installation is in operation and under the control of the owner problems can occur due to the following:
a) on a change of ownership or tenancy of the premises
b) on a change of use of the premises
c) after alterations or additions to the original installation
d) because of any meaningful change in the electrical loading of the installation
e) where there is reason to believe that damage may have been caused to the installation.
The extension and alteration of an existing installation can put additional strain on an already heavily loaded system consequently leading to possible breakdown, premature failure and in harsh situations already fire.
With the introduction of the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 it has now become the legal responsibility of the owner (or the owners nominated person) of the electrical installation to prevent electrical accidents. The regulations call for all electrical systems and apparatus which are, or may be, attached to the electrical installation, to be maintained in a safe condition so that users may be protected from electrical shock or fire hazards.
Regulation 4 (2) of the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 requires that all systems and apparatus are maintained where this will prevent danger. The chief method to precisely decide when maintenance is necessary to prevent danger, is to perform regular inspections and tests; consequently it can be construed that there is a legal requirement to inspect and test. To ensure the fixed wiring system is and continues to function correctly and safely, it is basic that an inspection and test is completed.
Some premises require electrical inspection and testing to take place on a regular basis and in some situations the electrical inspection and test is mandatory. Mandatory inspection and testing is usually a requirement of a local authority or forms part of the conditions required to be fulfilled for licensing purposes.