All electrical equipment depreciates over time, no matter how often it is used or what its function is, although these factors will have an impact on the extent of deterioration. Legally, there is little guidance on how electrical equipment should be maintained or how often it should be tested. In the workplace it is especially important that electrical equipment is correctly maintained, whether it is supplied by the employer or brought in by staff.

What Should I Consider?

When deciding on what level of maintenance your electrical equipment requires, you should consider whether the equipment is earthed or double insulated. It’s also worth thinking about the increased risk if equipment is used in a particularly challenging environment and whether or not the equipment is suitable for the job in hand. Equipment that is used incorrectly has an increased risk of deterioration.

What Steps Should I Take?

If you are an employer, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure that electrical equipment meets required standards of safety. You should instruct employees to check supply cables and the electrical equipment itself before it is used. Any equipment that is not double insulated should be signed up for a Portable Appliance Test at intervals of between one and five years. Damaged equipment should be removed from use without delay. If this doesn’t happen, the risk of an accident occurring is greatly increased. Faulty equipment should only be repaired by someone who has the relevant skills and training. Those who aren’t qualified can harm themselves and others by attempting to repair electrical appliances.

The Importance of Visual Checks

Visual checks are essential to maintaining safe equipment and can often identify potential problems before an electrically competent person is required on site to test equipment. Visual checks help to identify whether equipment is suitable for the job, whether circumstances have changed and whether the user has reported any issues. Teach employees to look out for loose plugs, fraying wires, cracked or loose casings, and loose terminal screws.

Inspection and testing intervals should be reviewed regularly to make sure that they are being carried out often enough. It’s helpful to keep a log of this. If you have an electrically competent person on site, they should be using the correct PAT testing equipment to ensure the electrical safety of other employees. This equipment can be purchased from specialist retailers such as PASS.