Veriserv are here to support your business during the Covid-19 pandemic with an electrical check and more.

Currently whether it be in business or at a personal level, we are all being advised by the government and health officials to keep our distance and be safe during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.

Some businesses are in the position where they can allow people to work from home and take advantage of the “furlough scheme” to support their staff. However, many of our customers are “hands-on” requiring their staff to be present to carry out necessary work or maintain systems. Clearly at the same time, the medical advisors stress that people working from home or attending the workplace, should continue to seek medical help if they have any new serious conditions or need to attend on going appointments and treatments.

In these difficult times, Veriserv wish to advise existing and potential customers that there is no need to delay protecting you and your business’ electrical testing, or electrical check, electrical and mechanical installation, security and fire safety services. At Veriserv we are perfectly set up to fill in the gaps in service provision due to such unforeseen circumstances.

Companies may not have the capacity with your own reduced workforce and engineers to serve your customers effectively, but you have a commitment to do so. Your reputation depends upon it so tap into our extensive network of nationally located and directly employed engineers, covering multiple disciplines, not just electrical check as an extension of your own service. At Veriserv we are perfectly set up to fill gaps in service provision due to such unforeseen circumstances.

Another positive point may be that during these quieter times, it may be the time for companies to re-evaluate their current electrical testing, electrical and mechanical installation, security and fire safety services set-up and take the opportunity to contact a professional company like ours to evaluate their needs.

Finally on a financial point, companies are under extreme pressure at present to deliver their profit requirements. Veriserv can help you to:

  • Protect your profit margins by not employing extra, costly engineers who aren’t needed all of the time.
  • Access a flexible, multi-disciplined team of engineers who you can simply switch on – or off – as required.
  • Improve your productivity by not having engineers sat idle when they’re not needed

Remember that if your company is forced to reduce or stop their working procedures for a length of time, it is prudent of the company to check electrical and fire installations before start-up through a reputable company. Veriserv serve both these sectors and allowing such surveys to be completed by just one company.

Our engineers are here to help advise and carry out necessary installation and follow-up service programmes.

Our website covers all our contact details and please ensure all assistance will be in the safest way possible during this time.

If you have any questions or want to book a free assessment of your premises fill out our contact form or call 01543 225306 to speak to a member of our team.

Electrical Safety in the Workplace: What are you obligated to do?

The maze of regulations and rules surrounding businesses can be blinding at the best of times, but the last thing you want to do is break a Law that is easy to put in place. Whether you are a new business owner, or manager of an established business with new equipment, electrical safety in the workplace is one requirement that can be easily fulfilled.

While the law does not require electrical testing to be carried out, it does require your electrical equipment to be safe at all times.

Electricity will always find the easiest path to earth. Any faults or weaknesses within your electrical installation or portable appliances can go undetected and electrical safety should be of paramount importance. In the event of another fault developing, this could lead to serious risk of fire, electrocution or death.

For example, a socket circuit without earth continuity could render all metal parts of appliances plugged into it “LIVE”  if the item developed a fault to earth.

In 1989 The Electricity at Work Regulations came into force, which clarifies the need to maintain electrical systems for electrical safety. Regulations require that “all electrical tools and equipment used by construction workers must be safe to use” and that “any electric tools hired out to end-users must be safe to use”.

In the workplace the regulations specify that employers take steps to limit the risk of harm from electricity and electrical systems, and this includes both electrical installations and electrical equipment.

These regulations apply to most electrical equipment – consumer, commercial and industrial – operating between 50 volts and 1,000 volts AC or between 75 volts and 1,500 volts DC.

The only way to ensure every effort is made towards a safe workplace, and to ensure you can back up your hard work if things go wrong, is to have regular electrical testing carried out on all the electrical equipment at your workplace. This will accurately identify faults, their locations and usually the recommended solution.

Increasingly, insurers are insisting that inspection and testing be carried out on a regular basis. If you suffer an avoidable accident, then under law if found guilty you will be deemed to have committed a criminal offence. Insurers will not pay fines or compensation for losses suffered resulting from a criminal offence

Compared to the hassle and possible costs of a problem developing, getting your installations and appliances tested is easy and normally quite affordable.

The IET recommend that Electrical Installations are tested every 10 years (for domestic), 5 years (for commercial) or 3 years (for industrial).

Depending on the risk-rating for a particular item, Portable Appliance Testing should be carried out every 3-48 months dependant on a risk assessment.

High risk items include site equipment and workshop equipment, often involved in heavy workloads under arduous conditions, and far more likely to develop a fault in a shorter period of time than office equipment.

Worries over power-interruptions and work disruption can be eased, as electrical testing rarely causes such delays. A short power outage can be expected on each circuit within the system as testing is carried out, but because most of the testing is carried out whilst the system is still live, these outages can be planned around your daily activities.

When choosing an Electrical Testing Surveyor or other contractor to carry out your tests, ensure they charge by circuit numbers and not floor space (which has no bearing on how much circuitry there may or may not be in any given square foot).

Also ensure you are going to receive proper and elaborative reports and paperwork for your reports, to give you ample documentation for your efforts.

It is also a good idea to look for a company that holds a certification traceable through to UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service), ensuring they are accredited with the appropriate qualifications and standards for the job.

Finding such a qualified professional to carry out your electrical testing satisfies all of the legal requirements for your workplace, and covers you and your employees for the future in the eyes of the law – subject, of course, to any remedial work requirements being addressed as identified by testing.

If you have any questions around electrical safety, or any electrical inspection and testing simply fill out our contact form to book your free assessment, or call 01543 225306 to speak to a member of our team.

What is Fixed Wire Testing and an EICR?

Put simply, Fixed Wire Testing is the physical inspection and testing of electrical wiring installations such as main panels, circuits, socket outlets, lighting, air conditioning, etc. Note that given the need in most cases to disconnect electrical circuits, Fixed Wire Testing inspection requires advanced planning to minimise disturbance and perhaps scheduling the work outside normal hours.

After Fixed Wire Testing an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) is issued highlighting any action required with any highly dangerous observations to be actioned immediately.

Observations are ranked according to their severity with those of most concern and requiring immediate action Code C1 or less severe but of potential danger Code C2 and Code F/I for items requiring further investigation such as unidentified circuits.

Fixed Wire Testing

In some cases, observations may fall outside current regulations but are not dangerous, and these are coded C3. Observations in either Codes C1, C2 of F/I will need to be rectified in order for compliance with electrical safety regulations and the installation to be deemed as satisfactory.

Fixed Wire Testing not only ensures compliance with Health & Safety regulations, but also various policy requirements for commercial insurers.

Fixed Wire Testing is incredibly important to keep you and your employees safe. If you have any questions or would like us to arrange an assessment of your premises, please call 01543 225306, or fill our contact form.

What is Class 2FE?

In October 2020 the IET published the 5th Edition of the Code of Practice for the ‘In Service Inspection & Test of Electrical Equipment’ This also covers electrical PAT testing.

A number of updates have been introduced including a new ‘Class’ of appliance, Class 2 FE.

These items fulfill the requirements of Class 2 (Double Insulated) though use an earth for functional purposes. A good example of one of these items is a Laptop Power supply.

There are now 4 classes of appliance;

  • Class 1
  • Class II or Class 2
  • Class 11 FE
  • Class III or Class 3

What are the intervals for checking Portable Electrical Equipment or Electrical PAT testing?

Each item has a different construction and therefore following risk assessment may have a different frequency for the planned formal inspection and electrical PAT testing.

The Health and Safety Executive suggest the following electrical PAT testing intervals for checking portable electrical equipment dependant on the environment they are placed:

  • Desktop computers, VDU screen every 2-4 years.
  • Photocopiers and fax machines, not hand held and rarely moved 2-4 years.
  • Double insulated Class 2 equipment, not hand-held and moved occasionally like fans table lamps 2-4 years.
  • Double insulated Class 2 & 2FE equipment, hand-held like floor cleaners, kitchen equipment 6 months – 1 year.
  • Earthed equipment Class I like electric kettles, irons 6 months – 1 year.
  • Cables (leads and plugs connected to the above) and mains voltage extension leads and battery charging equipment. 6 months – 4 years depending on the equipment being used.

If you have a question or a concern about a electrical PAT testing for your appliances, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free assessment of your premises, with one of our fully trained electrical engineers.

Useful references:

IET 5th Edition of the Code of Practice for the ‘In Service Inspection & Test of Electrical Equipment’

What is an electrical installation report (EICR) and why would I need one with electrical inspection and testing?

What is an EICR?

This acronym stands for Electrical Installation Condition Report and it is an official document that is presented to a business following electrical inspection and testing.

What types of testing are carried out during an EICR?

A Verisev fully qualified electrical engineer will carry out a vast range of electrical inspection and testing before a EICR is generated.

Each circuit will be isolated and electrical tests will be carried out to make sure that each one is safe. If there are any issues these will be mentioned in the EICR.

All the hardwiring of your premises must be checked to give a detailed EICR for electrical inspection and testing. Items to inspect include main panels, distribution boards, air conditioning, power sockets etc.

Once the electrical inspection and testing is complete the EICR will formally document the findings from the qualified engineer that conducted the inspection. Any faults or issues will be added and addressed with you to reduce the risk. Remedial work will be discussed with you on site to make sure you are up and running and compliant with no downtime. The actions in the EICR aren’t legally binding however should your electrical system have a fault causing an accident to someone and the EICR highlights areas that you didn’t action that could have prevented it from occurring your business could be prosecuted.

 

How Often Should a EICR be Carried Out?

Our fully qualified engineers will give you and your business the guidance and advice to keep safe and compliant from the electrical inspection and testing. The frequency of EICRs depends upon many items from what ways electrical systems are used and how often. Maintenance is a crucial element and we will be able to see how well an electrical item has been maintained and when it was professionally tested / inspected.

Does the EICR demonstrate Electrical Compliance?

An employer or duty holder can demonstrate compliance with the regulations in respect to their electrical installation in the form of an up to date Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) which has been checked and completed by a qualified electrical engineer. Today, many insurers wish to see evidence of a company being compliant and this can be easily carried out by reading the EICR report.

Make sure you are compliant with your electrical inspection and testing and employ Veriserv as your contractor for all your electrical fixed wire inspection and testing.

If you require fixed wire testing, or any electrical inspection and testing within your business or want to discuss the EICR with us simply fill out our contact form to book your free assessment, or call 01543 225306 to speak to a member of our team.

What is a thermographic survey and why should you routinely undertake them?

Thermographic surveys detect abnormally high temperatures and are a non-disruptive way of inspecting installations, so your business operation isn’t affected.

What are the reasons for high temperatures?

  • A fault with the equipment
  • Overloading sockets in your workplace
  • Loose connections
  • The age of the equipment – gradual wear and tear.

Why should you undertake a thermographic survey?

These surveys help you identify hot spots in electrical systems that you might not be able to see and makes sure that they are running safely. With a thermographic survey, you can rest assured that any faults are dealt with and, as it is non-disruptive in nature, there is no down time for you to be affected by.

What does a Thermal image look like?

Based on infrared radiation, thermal images will have a range of colours. The hottest areas of the thermal image from the thermographic survey will be yellow in colour, the coolest will appear in blue.

 

How often should Thermographic inspections be carried out?

The Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) recommend routine inspections to the electrical installation between the formal periodic inspections. Thermographic surveys of critical parts for an installation could mean they have to be isolated in order for them to be inspected. This would obviously cause disruption however, a routine thermographic inspection of these parts will help your business to run and could identify underlying defects which in turn could lead to a failure of the electrical supply. This shows how important it is to have thermographic inspections routinely incorporated in to the maintenance schedules to stay safe.

What can a Thermographic inspection survey?

We can inspect any electrical system or equipment that you might have a concern about. Items include:

  • LV transformers
  • Control panels
  • Cable runs & terminals
  • Motor and pumps
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning panels
  • Electrical distribution boards
  • Main panel boards
  • Power busbars
  • Electrical risers and tap off units
  • Essential power
  • Generators

Who will carry out a thermographic inspection at Veriserv?

Themographic surveys are carried out by our experienced electrically qualified inspection and test engineers. Analysis will be undertaken during the survey and action will be taken immediately if an issue arises or is reported on.

Please call 01543 225306 or fill out one of our contact forms to discuss our service levels and to run a thermographic inspection for your business. Talk to us today so we can keep you and your business safe.

How to check that your electrical installations are compliant

Keeping your electrical installations compliant should be of paramount importance for any business owner. Making sure your business is compliant and has all of the correct certificates will not only keep you and your employees safe but eliminate any threat of legal action should the worst happen. There are a number of ways that you can check to make sure you are compliant to BS 7671 for your electrical systems:

  • You should have an EICR, electrical installation condition report that you can refer to. If the report shows any ‘unsatisfactory’ levels, then you should have been made aware of the remedial work that needs to be carried out to rectify it.
  • If remedial works or other modifications have been undertaken to your installation you may have Minor Works or Electrical Installation certificates to keep on record demonstrating your compliance.

 

 

If you are not sure if your business is compliant and up-to-date with a fixed wire testing and inspection please call 01543 225306 or fill out one of our contact forms and we can assist

Emergency Lighting Testing – Is your Business up to date?

Emergency lighting should be tested regularly to ensure it is compliant and works correctly, allowing occupants to safely evacuate a building in the event of an emergency.

Are your emergency lights operating or compliant with current regulations?

This maybe a question you ask yourself from time to time, but ensuring your emergency lighting fully performs in the event of an emergency is crucial for compliance with statutory requirements and to give you peace of mind.

Monthly emergency lighting tests:

All emergency lighting systems must be tested monthly. The test is a short functional test in accordance with BS EN 50172 / BS 5266-8.

The period of simulated failure should be sufficient for the purpose of this test while minimising damage to the system components, e.g. lamps. During this period, all luminaires and signs shall be checked to ensure that they are present, clean and functioning correctly.

Annual emergency lighting tests:

A test for the full rated duration of the emergency lights (e.g. 3 hours) must be carried out. The emergency lights must still be working at the end of this test.

The result of the monthly and annual tests must be recorded and, if failures are detected, these must be remedied as soon as possible.

How can Veriserv help you?

Carrying out routine inspections to your emergency light installation is just part of the service that we offer. Veriserv offer various service levels of inspection that will ensure compliance, functionality and maintainability of your installation.

What is incorporated in the various service levels?

All inspections involve basic functional tests whereby the emergency light installation undergoes a “drop test”.  This test ensures that all fittings are operated in emergency mode and remain operative for the required duration.

A number of other checks are routinely undertaken including the inspection of batteries or other backup supplies and compliance with current regulations.

Depending on the service level required, Veriserv will;

  • Inspect at agreed intervals from monthly through to annually
  • Undertake remedial repairs to ensure the system remains fully functional
  • Provide a log book and ensure it is kept fully up to date
  • Up date as fitted floor plan drawings in AutoCad format
  • Provide certification & a full inventory report
  • Provide expert advice on continued compliance without blowing your budget
  • Label light fittings & switches to aid scheduled testing and remedial works

Emergency lighting is incredibly important to keep you and your employees safe. If you have any questions or would like us to arrange an assessment of your premises, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms

How frequently should I PAT test my appliances?

Employers, landlords and people that are self-employed are required to run PAT testing on portable appliances. There isn’t a rule on the frequency of PAT testing which the Health & Safety Executive has set out, the main reason for this is that different situations require different measures.

It is up to each individual to determine and asses when the testing should be carried out to keep their workforce, tenants and themselves safe.

You should bear in mind a few different factors when determining how often you should have your appliances tested:

  • Stationary equipment is less likely to get damaged than hand help types of appliances therefore the type is a factor to consider to determine the frequency. Class I appliances have a greater risk over Class II.
  • How often the appliances are used. This may be common sense but appliances that are used more should be test more often. Appliances that aren’t used so often will obviously incur less damage and have a lower risk.
  • If appliances aren’t properly maintained / serviced, then PAT testing should be more frequent. Problems could go unnoticed which could cause a potential risk to somebody.
  • The location of the equipment is also an important factor to consider. Is it outdoors, construction sites, hazardous atmospheres etc.)
  • If the equipment is on hire, then PAT testing frequency should be increased to make sure it is safe to run.
  • Manufacturers guidelines & recommendations.
  • If there have been any equipment modification or repairs since the last PAT test.

 

 

The Health and Safety Executive suggest the following intervals for checking portable electrical equipment:

  • Desktop computers, VDU screen every 2-4 years.
  • Photocopiers and fax machines, not hand held and rarely moved 2-4 years.
  • Double insulated Class II equipment, not hand-held and moved occasionally like fans table lamps 2-4 years.
  • Double insulated Class II equipment, hand-held like floor cleaners, kitchen equipment 6 months – 1 year.
  • Earthed equipment Class I like electric kettles, irons 6 months – 1 year.
  • Cables (leads and plugs connected to the above) and mains voltage extension leads and battery charging equipment. 6 months – 4 years depending on the equipment being used.

If you have a question or a concern about a PAT for your appliances, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free assessment of your premises, with one of our fully trained electrical engineers.

Useful references:

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) publish guidance for the maintenance of portable appliances

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provide useful guidance on Portable Appliance Testing

IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment Chapter 15.8

Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Regulation 5
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Regulation 4(2)

When should you call an electrical engineer?

It is absolutely critical that your business stays up-to-date with electrical testing. Whether that is fixed wire or portable appliance testing (PAT testing) it is important to make sure you are compliant to protect your employees from electrical fires and to eliminate any opportunity of criminal negligence should the worst happen.

A periodic inspection of the wiring for your business premises reduces the risk of electrical fires and makes sure everything is running as it should be. You should arrange periodic inspections by calling us at Veriserv as we have electrical engineers available every day to assist with this matter. But when else should you call?

  • If there is anything unusual with the electricity

Electricity is of course dangerous and invisible and as a result it is easy for wiring flaws to be missed until a safety hazard occurs such as an electrical fire, sparks from a unit, or a power cut. If you can see lights flickering or dim and brighten or if you have breakers that trip regularly or if you see sparks from a unit you should immediately call an electrical engineer to inspect the issue.

If you see an electrical item has discoloured or is hot to the touch this should also raise suspicion.

  • A burning smell

Whenever you smell burning you should immediately unplug any appliance in the vicinity and call an electrical engineer immediately. Burning smells don’t just have to come from portable appliances but can be an indicator that your building wiring is faulty too.

  • Electricity outlets

We are constantly seeing issues arising with extension leads in businesses. When businesses employee more people, inevitably the power that is required increases and as a result the reliance on extension cables goes up if there aren’t enough wall sockets. Extension leads can put a lot of load on a building’s wiring if they are overused and they can even catch on fire. Call us at Veriserv so we can avoid such incidences from happening and to protect your workforce.

You should call an electrical engineer whenever you feel there is an issue no matter how small you think it is. There can often be many underlying issues when not running suitable diagnostic checks by an engineer and they can quickly turn dangerous.

If you have some concerns about your premises, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free assessment of your premises, with one of our fully trained electrical engineers.