Why Small Businesses Need to Test Their Electronic Equipment
As a small business owner, you’ve probably purchased some form of insurance. You’ve invested in cyber security to protect your customers’ data. And you’ve installed a surveillance system for your premises. While you may have put all of these preventative measures in place, you might not have given a lot of thought to your electrical equipment.
Nowadays, the majority of businesses use technology, such as card terminals, computers, and electrical tools. Not only that, but there are kettles, microwaves, vending machines and water coolers in communal areas. Your employees, your customers and members of the public may use this equipment. Therefore, it’s vital that you regularly test these pieces of equipment to ensure the safety of your working environment.
If you’re not really sure what form of testing your business needs, how often you should be testing, or where to start with the process, then not to worry. Read on to find out why electrical testing is essential for small businesses.
Why Do Business Owners Need to Test?
Laws in most countries require employers to provide safe working conditions. For instance, in the UK the 1974 Healthy and Safety Work Act outlines an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe environment, both for their employees and the public. As mentioned, testing equipment helps to make sure that it’s safe to use. It ensures that your employees are not working in hazardous, unhealthy conditions.
If you regularly upgrade or replace electronics, you may think paying for electrical testing is an unnecessary business expense. However, it’s important to point out that just because something is new doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. In fact, an electrical fault is often hard to detect. It may require specialist equipment to highlight any underlying problems.
Types of Electrical Testing
There are lots of different forms of electrical testing. They include Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMC), which measures the level electromagnetism emitted. It analyzes how equipment interacts with its environment and other appliances. Another is Electrostatic Discharge (ESD), which looks at the amount of static electricity discharged by a device. Finally, there is Portable Appliance Testing (PAT), which essentially determines the safety of a movable electrical device.
How Is Equipment Tested?
To test electrical appliances requires the use of specialist equipment. During the testing process, a technician first checks all items visually, to make sure there are no visible faults. The technician then performs a series of additional tests to check for the appliance’s earth leakage, polarity, and insulation resistance. Basically, the technician checks to make sure that it’s performing as it should.
After the technician has determined that the electronic equipment has passed, he or she then tags it with a label detailing the date of the test, when it will need to be re-tested, and the name of the tester. If an item is found to have an electrical fault, the business owner must then adequately repair and re-test the appliance, or else arrange for its proper disposal.
How Often Should You Test Equipment?
A testing label will include a re-testing date, but how does the specialist determine this date? As a small business owner, how are you supposed to know how often you need to test appliances?
General guidance recommends that equipment and appliances be tested regularly, but this phrase can be open to interpretation. Unfortunately, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact time frame, as depending on the type of business you own and the sort of equipment that you use, this can mean anything from every few months to every 48 months.
Who Can Test Equipment?
When dealing with any electrical issue, small business owners should always seek a professional with relevant knowledge, qualifications and the proper specialist equipment, and testing is no exception. However, the good news is, you can help to keep your business and employees a little safer, as there are small checks you can do yourself to keep your workplace safe and hazard free.
Before using any equipment, make a habit of performing a quick visual check, such as looking for any damage or loose cables/connections. If you notice anything, stop using the item immediately, make sure employees know it’s out of use, and arrange to have the equipment tested by a professional. It’s also a good idea to encourage your staff to carry out regular checks, too.
So, do small businesses need to test electronic equipment? The answer is yes. As a business owner, if your employees use electronic appliance and electrical equipment, testing is just one small part of your responsibility to provide a safe working environment. Always use a professional. Remember to re-test your equipment regularly. Additionally, ensure that you properly dispose of or repair any faulty equipment.