Electrical Inspection and Testing

An information bulletin outlining the risks of faulty electrical equipment, and the importance of equipment testing.

Over one thousand accidents at work involving electric shock are reported to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) each year.

Faulty electrical installations and equipment are also a common cause of fires in commercial and industrial buildings, second only to arson.

It is essential that risks associated with electrical installations (often referred to as ‘fixed wiring’) and equipment are correctly assessed and controlled.

Periodic inspection and testing

The purpose of periodic inspection and testing is to provide an “engineering view” on whether the installation is in a satisfactory condition and can be used safely. This involves a detailed visual examination, together with appropriate testing.

Based on IET recommendations, inspection intervals will normally range between 1 & 5 years, depending on the type of installation and occupancy. Typically:

  • Industrial – 3 years
  • Offices – 5 years
  • Retail – 5 years
  • Educational establishments – 5 years
  • Restaurants and hotels – 5 years
  • Petrol filling stations – 1 year

Intervals less than those outlined may be recommended when the installation has suffered from neglect, or where it has been adversely affected by usage, or environmental conditions.

Routine checks

As well as formal periodic inspection and testing, the IET advocates that documented routine checks of the installation are carried out between inspections (in the majority of cases at annual intervals). The IET advises that these routine checks need not be carried out by an electrically skilled person, but should be done by someone who is able to safely use the installation and recognise defects.

For the full list of details regarding the testing of elctrical equipment, click here...