The unsung hero in workplace safety

By Focus on Testing

02 Jun 2023

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If you’re a business owner, it’s quite likely that you’ve got a lot on your plate.

Surviving yet another meeting? Check

Managing your workforce? Check

Juggling a thousand things at once? Check

Ensuring your building doesn’t turn into an unplanned firework display? Erm…

Wait, what was that last one? If you’re scratching your head, you’re not alone. Many business owners, just like you, are so busy ensuring the fundamental cogs of their business are turning that they overlook one crucial aspect of workplace safety: Fixed Wire Testing.

What is Fixed Wire Testing?

Fixed Wire Testing, also known as Electrical Installation Condition Reporting (EICR), is a routine inspection of all the hardwired electrical systems within your building. The aim of Fixed Wire Testing is to conduct a thorough check-up on your electrical systems - and identify any potential problems before they turn into dangerous situations.

Why is Fixed Wire Testing (EICR)  important?

Let’s be real - you probably wouldn’t willingly get into a car that hadn’t had an MOT in years and was making all sorts of strange and grumbling noises, would you? 

(We hope the answer is no…)

Well, the same should go for your building’s electrical systems. Without periodically checking your electrical systems for faults, you put yourself at risk of electrical fires, electric shocks and complete system failures. Which is why Fixed Wire Testing is so important. 

Is Fixed Wire Testing a legal requirement?

Not quite. But you should do it anyway. 

As an employer or building manager, it is a legal requirement to keep your electrical systems properly maintained. And as it turns out, the most effective method to accomplish this is by conducting routine Fixed Wire Testing. 

This is mandated within the following pieces of legislation: 

  • Safety At Work Act 1974
  • Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, 1999

How does Fixed Wire Testing work?

Fixed Wire Testing is a systematic process whereby our engineers will ensure your electrical circuits are functioning as they should be. It usually involves the following steps:

Preparation

Before any testing takes place, our engineer will review any existing electrical installation records or diagrams to understand the layout and history of your system.

Visual Inspection

Once this has been done, the engineer will conduct a thorough visual inspection of your electrical systems. At this stage, we will be looking to identify any obvious signs of wear and tear, damage or non-compliance. 

Circuit Testing

Now we’ve got the formalities out of the way; we’ll get down to thoroughly inspecting the circuits within your building. Each circuit will be assessed for numerous variables, including continuity, insulation resistance, polarity testing and earth fault loop testing. 

Reporting

After all of the tests have been completed, our engineer will compile an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). This report will outline the results of the tests and inspections, documenting any areas of non-compliance or potential safety issues. We’ll also include any recommendations for improvements or remedial work. 

How should I interpret EICR results?

If any areas of non-compliance or issues are found, they will be included in the report alongside a grade. These grades can be interpreted as follows:

C1 - This means that ‘danger’ is present and risk of injury is highly likely. Immediate action should be taken.

C2 - This classification means that there is a potential for danger and remedial action is urgently required. 

C3 - This means that improvements are recommended but not required. 

You can still successfully complete your EICR test with a C3 fault. However, the presence of a C2 or C1 fault would prevent a pass.

How often should Fixed Wire Testing be carried out?

How often you should carry out Fixed Wire Testing will vary depending on the type of property you have.

Commercial properties (businesses, workplaces and shops) should have an EICR test every five years, at a minimum. 

Industrial properties (factories, building sites, industrial workshops) should have an EICR test every three years, at a minimum. 

Buy-to-let or rented properties should have an EICR test every five years, or when a new tenant enters the property. 

What are the risks of not carrying out Fixed Wire Testing (EICR)?

There are multiple risks to avoiding Fixed Wire Testing, in case we’ve not quite made it clear yet, those risks are as follows: 

Safety Risks: The most significant risk is to the safety of the people within the premises. Faulty wiring can lead to electrical shocks, which can cause serious injury or even death. Furthermore, faulty wiring is a common cause of fires, posing a significant risk to both people and property.

Legal Consequences: As per UK legislation, employers are obligated to ensure the safety of their employees and any others who could be affected by their activities. Failure to do so could result in hefty fines or even imprisonment. Yikes!

Operational Disruptions: If an electrical system fails due to a fault that could have been identified through Fixed Wire Testing, this could lead to significant downtime for a business. This downtime could disrupt operations, potentially leading to lost revenue and dissatisfied customers.

Increased Repair Costs: Problems caught early are often less expensive to fix than those left to worsen over time. By avoiding Fixed Wire Testing, you might face higher repair or replacement costs in the long run.

Damage to Reputation: If a business has a fire or another incident due to poor electrical safety, this could result in significant reputational damage. This could harm relationships with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders, potentially impacting the business's long-term success.

For Fixed Wire Testing, Choose Focus On Testing

In the hectic world of business, it’s easy to overlook something as seemingly mundane as Fixed Wire Testing. However, this essential procedure is far from mundane when you actually consider the potential risks involved. And unfortunately for you, ignorance is not bliss when it comes to maintaining your electrical systems.

If you’re on the hunt for a team of experienced professionals to conduct your Fixed Wire Testing (EICR tests) for you - then get in touch with our team at Focus On Testing by visiting our website or giving us a call on 0330 088 4597! 

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