Every business owner wants to do everything that they possibly can in order to keep their business running smoothly, including ensuring the safety of yourself, your customers and everything on your team. One area of health and safety where it’s crucial that you keep on top of things is, of course, your premises’ electrical maintenance.
When it comes to the electrical maintenance of your building, electrical health and safety comes with a set of its own important codes and regulations. It’s important that all business owners familiarise themselves with these in order to operate safely and keep on top of due maintenance and inspections.
Like many other aspects of your business, the maintenance and safety of your building’s electricity systems comes with its own unique set of codes and regulations to follow. At first glance, they may seem like a lot to take in, but it’s of utmost importance that every business owner in Warwickshire is familiar with what they mean – that way, you can keep your business running at its very best.
Here are the commercial electrical regulations that all Warwickshire business owners must familiarise themselves with and ensure that they are up to standard!
Health And Safety At Work Act 1974 (HASAWA)
1974’s HASAWA (The Health And Safety At Work Act) was designed to ensure that no employee in the United Kingdom is ever made to feel unsafe at work. It’s the responsibility of business owners to make sure that their staff are given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with these regulations, as it ensures that team members are well-informed on the safest and most effective way to carry out their job roles.
This act deals with several different aspects of UK workplace safety, with one of the most important of these being the guidelines and practices that must be considered when working with electricity – something which is almost entirely unavoidable these days.
Despite how well-acquainted we all are with electricity in the 21st century, it’s still a contributing factor in many workplace injuries – it was previously estimated that 1,000 workplace injuries per year are directly related to electricity, with 30 of these injuries proving fatal.
HASAWA looks to both educate employers and team members on the best ways to avoid electrical injuries at work, as well as clarifying that the responsibility to prevent electrical injuries only falls upon the employer if the risk is easily avoidable. One part of the act states “an employer does not have to take measures to avoid or reduce the risk if they are technically impossible or if the time, trouble or cost of the measures would be grossly disproportionate to the risk”.
With electricity being so ubiquitous in UK workplaces, it’s crucial that team members and employers are well-informed on the HASAWA, both to learn the best practices when working with electricity, reduce risk of injuries where possible and become well-versed on who must take responsibility in different cases.
Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 (EWR)
1989’s Electricity At Work Regulations are there to advise on best practices when working with electricity, both for employers and for team members.
This set of regulations deals both with the technical aspects of physically working with electricity, as well as the legalities when it comes to whether team members or employers are responsible. Outlined in the EWR are:
- What risks come with working with electricity
- Safety measures expected to be taken when working with electricity
- Ways to correct potentially hazardous situations before any harm is caused
- Information on electrical equipment commonly found in the workplace, including strengths and capabilities
All employers should be ensuring that these guidelines are delivered to employees through dedicated training.
Provision And Use Of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
1998’s Provision And Use Of Work Equipment Regulations deal with the risks, challenges and safety requirements that employees might encounter whilst working with specialised electrical equipment and machinery.
It’s imperative that employers make sure that these regulations are passed on to staff, as they look to prevent malpractice and subsequent injuries/fatalities caused by less common, generally more powerful equipment.
According to PUWER, all such equipment must be:
- Deemed safe for use
- Consistently well-maintained
- Suitable for its intended use
- Operated only by those who have received the proper training to do so
- Accompanied by proper health and safety measures
- Used in accordance with specific requirements set out by the manufacturer
These regulations, once again, place sole responsibility on the employer to ensure that all employees are well-versed in what they mean, so dedicated training is a must here.
Management Of Health And Safety At Work Regulations 1999
The Management Of Health And Safety At Work Regulations are a lot like HASAWA, but go a little further in ensuring that employers are keeping a close eye on whether or not safety regulations are being followed when it comes to the use of electrical equipment in the workplace.
Following the Management Of Health And Safety At Work Regulations, employers are expected to:
- Carry out regular risk assessments and have accessible records of these, updating them in accordance with any changes in the workplace environment
- Put necessary health and safety measures in place to protect anyone who may work in or enter the building
- Select and train certain employees to take initiative in further maintaining health and safety measures
- Prepare adequate emergency procedures
- Provide high-quality training to employees to assist them in carrying out their jobs as safely as possible
These regulations are not specific to the use of electricity, but safe practice for working with electricity should be thoroughly covered within risk assessments and training.
Who Ensures These Regulations Are Being Followed?
The Health And Safety Executive (HSE) are the body in place to ensure that Health And Safety laws are being followed by business owners and team members in UK workplaces.
In order to do this, the HSE carries out inspections of workplaces across the UK. While workplaces with a history of breaking the regulations or with an unusually high number of recorded workplace injuries are more likely to receive a HSE inspection, they are carried out at random.
All UK businesses will, at some point, receive an inspection – with this in mind, it’s imperative that you do what you can as a business owner to ensure that all regulations are being followed to the letter.
How Can I Ensure My Electrical Systems Are Up To Standard?
If you’re expecting to be notified of an upcoming HSE inspection or would simply like to be well-prepared just in case, call on TNS to help.
With years of experience, TNS Electrical Services provide the highest quality of electrician services to both domestic and commercial properties across Leamington Spa and Warwickshire.