Electrical Safety Explained


All electrical installations will unfortunately deteriorate with age and use, which means that periodic inspects should be carried out to use that they are safe for use. Whether you’re considering taking on a complex DIY task, letting out your property to renters, or making sure that your business premises are safe for staff and customers, it’s important to be aware of electrical safety basics. It may be helpful to familiarize yourself with common electrical terms so that you know what they mean.

What Will a Periodic Inspection Achieve?

A periodic inspection will cover a number of important factors. It will reveal any potential fire hazards and electric shock risks and show whether any of your circuits or electrical equipment are overloaded. Defective electrical work and any lack of bonding or earthing will also be identified. Your property should be inspected before selling or when you are preparing to let it out to renters. In an owner-occupied home, a periodic inspection should take place every ten years.

Things to Look Out For

Old fuse boxes with wooden backs, cast-iron switches or a mixture of the two elements will need replacing. Older round-pin sockets, black switches, sockets mounted in skirting boards and round light switches are no longer suitable. Cables that are coated in black rubber or fabric constitute a serious fire hazard and were phased out in the 60s. If these are still in operation, they should be replaced immediately with modern, PVC-coated cables. Changes in how a property or office building is used on a day-to-day basis must be reported as they will have an effect on the suitability of electrical installations.

Electrically Competent Persons

Periodic inspection and testing should be done only by electrically competent persons. This includes registered electricians. They will check the condition of your electrical circuits and equipment in accordance with the UK standard for the safety of electrical installations. If you’re interested in learning more or carrying out periodic inspections yourself, it is advised that you undertake an electrical training course, after all, if you don’t know what you’re doing around electricity, you can easily get hurt. After a periodic inspection is completed, the property owner or manager will be issued with an Electrical Installation Condition report that highlights any observed damage or dangers. It is then up to the owner to make sure that a competent person resolves these issues.

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