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Spark prevention and testing

BY Douglas Cameron
Health & Safety
BG Orange

We came across a rather large elecrical testing file during an inspection for a client who was considering the further expansion of their business. We had been asked to carry out a pre-acquisition survey. Across the front of the file was the heading ‘PASS Certificate Electrical’.

Our final report stated : ‘Pages 32 to 47 of the Fixed Electrical Inspection Report dated June 2014,  has listed over 300 Category 1 and 2 items requiring attention. The occupier was questioned and was unaware of the findings section of said report and has taken no action to remedy the faults.  It is strongly recemmended the current owner obtain two costings from competent electrical contractors in order to address these matters, thereby full addressing all the matters identified’

So what is the expectation to show compliance with electrical safety?

The legalities are contained in the Electricity at Work Regulation 1989. Example areas in a building that are consider ‘the fixed’ are lighting, socket outlets, air conditioning units and other fixed plant needs to be tested. Usually a five year testing regime (either the entire installation or percentage done each year), using in-house qualified testing engineers or external testing companies, ensures both the integrity of fixed electrical installations. A programme of inspection, testing and repair will reduce the likelihood of electrical related incidents.

After an initial visual inspection several electrical testing procedures are carried out by injected test voltages and current running through the system.This determines the integrity and functionality of cables accessories and disconnection devices.

Inspection and testing is carried out by competent qualified Testing Engineers in accordance with the 17th edition of the IEE wiring Regulations BS7671:2008/15.

Damage, deterioration, defects and dangerous conditions within the installation are reported as: Code 1- requires urgent attention, Code 2- potentially dangerous and should be given urgent attention and Code 3- improvement recommended. Codes 1 and 2 in our view must be remedied.

The report received must be considered a working document towards electrical safety compliance. It is not a Pass Certificate to just have it completed. Fixed Installation Tests reports must be provided following new builds, refurbishments and rewiring. 

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