HSE clarifies electrical testing requirements

Published:  08 May, 2012

LONDON: The health watchdog has clarified its policy on electrical safety checks, which it estimates cost office-based businesses £30m a year.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says it is a myth that every workplace portable electrical appliance needs testing once a year, and says misleading advice and advertising is contributing to low-risk businesses, such as offices, shops and hotels, paying unnecessarily for over-the-top maintenance regimes.

The law only requires an employer to ensure that electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger. It does not state every item has to be tested, or how often testing needs to be carried out.

Launching HSE’s revised guidance on testing, its chair Judith Hackitt said: “We know low-risk companies are being misled over what the law requires when it comes to maintaining portable electrical appliances, and many are paying for testing that is not needed.

“Businesses are responsible for protecting their employees, but they shouldn’t be wasting their money on unnecessary checks that have no real benefit.”

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