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Safety in the workplace

Electrical Safety in the Workplace: Don’t Risk Non-Compliance, Choose Commercial EICRs

Workplace safety is essential for everyone involved. From your team on the shop floor to management and even visitors to your site. A safe workplace is a happy workplace, as they say. But this can never be achieved if UK laws are not complied with.

In a commercial setting, there are certain laws and regulations in place that help to keep everyone safe. In order to ensure your business remains compliant in terms of electrical safety, an EICR is a no-brainer.

But surprisingly, it’s not a legal requirement at this time. Regardless, I’m here to explain why an EICR is so important for your business and how it can help to ensure you’re on the right side of health and safety laws.

What UK Laws Are Relevant To Workplace Electrical Safety?

In the United Kingdom, there are several laws in place that help to ensure the workplace is a risk-free environment. When it comes to electrical safety, the main law you’ll need to consider is the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989.

You can access a detailed rundown of the legislation on the government website but for the purposes of this post, I’m going to condense it into a nutshell for you.

Essentially, the Electricity at Work Regulations explain that any electrical equipment or system must be installed and maintained to a standard that is considered to prevent danger. This includes regularly checking your electrical equipment and addressing any maintenance issues as quickly as possible.

Furthermore, there are certain pieces of electrical equipment that require further safety measures. For example, where equipment is to be used in an extreme environment (such as high temperatures or outdoors) it must be specifically designed for this type of use.

These regulations also state that any person using a piece of electrical equipment must have received the correct training to do so. While this is important, it’s not really relevant to your EICR which purely focuses on the equipment itself. However, as a business owner, it’s still a crucial point to consider when talking about compliance.

What Does An EICR Do?

An EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) is an assessment or inspection of your electrical equipment that details its quality, conditions, functionality, and of course, safety.

During the inspection, which must be carried out by a qualified electrician, any faults or damage will be identified. It’s then your responsibility as the business owner to ensure that these issues are swiftly dealt with.

Generally speaking, it is recommended that an EICR is carried out at least once every five years. However, there is nothing stopping business managers from arranging more frequent checks.

What’s surprising is that an EICR is not a mandatory check-in in commercial settings. Since 2020, UK landlords have been legally required to have a five-year EICR but this still hasn’t extended to business and commercial properties.

Still, in order to ensure the utmost safety within your workplace, it is highly recommended you get one.

How Having An EICR Prevent Non-Compliance?

A lot of people are tempted to believe that since an EICR isn’t legally required, they can save money and time by not having one done.

But this is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes any business owner can make.

Without an EICR, you may not be able to identify any issues or faults with your electrical equipment, making them unsafe and unfit for use by you, your employees or anyone else that may need to use them.

The problem with this is not merely a safety concern; you could be putting yourself in a lot of legal hot water.

The Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 state that your electrical equipment must be properly installed and correctly maintained to ensure the highest possible degree of safety. Ignoring the importance of regular EICRs could lead to faulty equipment.

In the event that something goes wrong; perhaps a fire, a personal injury or at worst, a death, you will be held liable.

If you can prove with an up-to-date EICR that you have done everything in your power to ensure electrical safety, you’re off the hook. But if there’s no such report in place, the onus falls on you and you’ll instantly be punished under the 1989 legislation.

Since 2016, there have been much harsher penalties introduced for businesses that do not comply with the legislation. There is the possibility of a fine and, if you’re a larger business, this could be as much as £10 million. In other cases, managers and directors stand a chance of a prison sentence where a judge deems it suitable.

For your own benefit and that of the business, it makes sense to comply with these regulations and an EICR can help with that.

But we also have to consider the moral and ethical implications. Imagine for a moment that a workplace electrical fire caused the death or serious injury of one of your staff or patrons. The lack of an EICR would be one thing but the devastating effect on your own conscience would be even harder to deal with.

Where Can I Get An EICR

It’s obvious that an EICR not only ensures that your business complies with the law but also makes the work environment safer for all who use it.

It is important to keep in mind that an EICR can only be genuinely carried out by a qualified electrician.

MJP Electrical is a team of highly trained, fully qualified and extremely experienced electricians who are able to competently carry out a detailed EICR. If any issues are raised during the inspection, our team is also able to offer remedial work to bring your business back to a compliant standard.

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