How often should fixed wire testing be conducted?

The vast majority of workplaces require an Electrical Installation Condition Report at the very least every 5 years for commercial properties and 3 years for industrial.

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) produced guidance note 3 which incorporates the 18th edition IET wiring regulations to BS 7671. It is section 3 of this guidance which covers Electrical Periodic Inspection and Testing.

Veriserv are the experts in fixed wire inspection and testing and we can survey your premises, examine previous reports, look at your maintenance regime and recommend the correct frequency of tests to make sure your business is safe and compliant. Business electrical units should be correctly maintained to stay compliant.

As an example the following places of work require a full 5-year Electrical Installation Condition Report.

  • Hotels / restaurants
  • Education sector – Schools, Colleges, Universities / Hall of Residence
  • Care homes
  • Hospitals
  • Commercial buildings such as offices / retail
  • Science laboratories

There are places of work however which require an Electrical Installation Condition Report every 1 to 3 years with more frequent inspections being carried out.  This is the cases where areas are exposed to high temperatures, moisture and dust.

As an example the following places of work all require fixed wire testing every 1 to 3 years:

  • Swimming pools / sauna / leisure centres
  • Theatres and places of entertainment.
  • Medical locations in hospitals
  • Caravan parks
  • Fish farms
  • Laundrettes
  • Petrol stations
  • Caravans
  • Spa Hotels

If you are unsure about your fixed wire inspection and testing and when it should next be carried out within your business, simply fill out our contact form to book your free assessment, or call 01543 225306 to speak to a member of our team.

How can I reduce the risk of theft and protect my staff from intruders?

The risk of a break in is always a concern for any business owner and how to reduce the risk of theft should be question that is always being asked. It isn’t until it’s too late when a lot of businesses realise the real costs associated with a break-in from assets stolen to physical property damage.

Most people automatically think of intruder security alarms when they think of ways to reduce the risk. Veriserv provide high-quality monitored security alarms to any business in any sector/industry. They are one of the most successful visual deterrents for burglars helping you to reduce the risk of theft.

Our alarms are connected to a 24/7 NSI approved monitoring centre. This means that you can enjoy the peace of mind that your business is always protected no matter what time of day it is 365 days a year.

All of the security systems that we fit come with a back-up battery which will automatically power the unit should the event of a power failure occur. It is important to periodically check the batteries are operating and change them regularly to maintain full operation.

We offer state of the art key holder response and Police response monitoring packages which means the emergency services can be immediately notified in the event of an alarm activation be it from an intruder or fire.

We offer maintenance for your security installation and a 24/7 callout for all of our contract customers.

Contact to us today for a free no obligation security assessment to protect your business and staff. Stay safe, compliant and risk free. Simply fill out our contact form to book your free assessment, or call 01543 225306 to speak to a member of our team.

Are you prepared should a fire break out?

Keeping your staff and customers safe will always be of paramount importance for any business and the risk of fire is one of real concern.

Our fire safety products and services offer the very best fire prevention and protection, giving you the peace of mind should there ever be a need for them.

We understand that protecting your business from the threat of fire is a huge concern and this can be achieved with 24/7 monitoring of single or multi-site locations through an NSI Fire Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). We can protect your assets as well as your staff and customers to the highest degree.

Veriserv are an NSI certificated company which signifies that we are compliant with BAFE (British Approvals for Fire Equipment). We have an exceptional standard of workmanship and are a one-stop shop for all fire & security needs.

We will provide you with a ‘value for money’ fire alarm solution which is installed to the highest of standards.

Whether you are a small, large, a single or multiple site business we have the fire detection systems for your needs.

We:

  • Design to BAFE Standards
  • Carry out a technical survey and install your fire detection system
  • Commission and handover the system to you in a professional manner
  • Maintain all fire detection systems – not just those that we have installed

Not maintaining fire systems correctly could put yourself at risk as well as your employees and customers. Once we have handed over a fire system to you we will always offer a fire system maintenance agreement. This will provide you with total peace of mind by ensuring full compliance to current regulations.

We understand that both end users and building contractors want to work with businesses that they can fully trust. Veriserv always complete projects on time and within the agreed budgets set out by our clients.

Whether you require a new fire detection system installation or just need a product to be maintained correctly to stay compliant simply fill out our contact form to book your free assessment, or call 01543 225306 to speak to a member of our team.

Is Fixed Wire Inspection & Testing in the UK a Legal Requirement?

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 is an act of statutory legislation which places responsibility on employers in the UK to ensure, so far as is practicable, the health and welfare for everyone at the workplace which includes employees, members of the public, visitors and contractors.

Within the Health & Safety at Work Act there are areas which cover legal requirements for specific areas and this is where Fixed Wire Inspection & Testing comes in. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 cover all electrical systems within all occupied spaces.

Best practice guidance for complying with the regulations have been published by bodies other than the Health & Safety Executive. For this case Fixed Wiring Inspection & Testing includes:

  • British Standard BS7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations, IET Wiring Regulations
  • IET Inspection & Testing Guidance Note 3
  • HSE Electricity at Work – Safe working Practices
  • HSE memorandum of guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

The latest version of the regulations, which were first published in 2018, are known in the industry as the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations, which came into effect on 1st January 2019. All electrical installations following this regulation must be installed / maintained following BS 7671:2018. The purpose of the regulation is to prevent death or personal injury to any person from electrical causes in connection with work activities. Failure to comply to BS 7671:2018 obviously means an employer could be potentially exposed to legal action should an incident occur.

 

 

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 installations and employ Veriserv as your contractor for all your electrical fixed wire inspection and testing.

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

Protect your Staff and Property from Electrical Fires

Protect your Staff and Property from Electrical Fires. As an owner of property used for business it’s likely you have thought about the risks of fire and what preventative measures should be employed, but have you thought about how to protect your staff and property from electrical fires ?

The risk of fire caused by an electrical fault can be hidden from normal view and less obvious to detect for someone who has responsibility for the safety of persons  in a non domestic situation. This is one reason why it is important to have your electrical systems inspected and tested by a competent person and in accordance with BS 7671. Below are three examples of where overheating, with the potential to cause fire, have occurred. All three examples were found by a Veriserv engineer whilst carrying out inspection and testing prior to delivering an Electrical Installation Condition Report to our customer.

This first example is an electrical wall socket that had been overheating. It did become obvious as a fire actually started and was thankfully spotted and extinguished before it spread. It was then left in a live condition before being picked up during the electrical inspection and testing by Veriserv.

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) produce Electrical Inspection & Testing Guidance Note 3 to BS7671. Section 2.5.2g states that fire barriers, suitable seals and/or protection against thermal effects should be provided if necessary to meet the requirements of BS 7671 to minimise the spread of fire.

In this example a live electrical cable has been touching the moving mechanical parts of an isolator switch and has rubbed through the insulation causing overheating and the risk of electric shock. This was found by Veriserv during a visual inspection of the isolator.  IET Guidance note 3 2.5.1c states that cables and cable management systems should be designed and installed taking into account the mechanical stresses that users of the installation will make upon the installation.

In this example a cable connection within the electrical distribution board had become loose and overheated. As this is a relatively modern board manufactured using fire resistant material, and the overheated parts are contained within a closed compartment, this fault it is unlikely to cause fire to spread.  Older equipment however may be higher risk as more susceptible to combustion or the spread of electrical fires.

Make sure you employ a qualified electrical engineer to periodically inspect your electrical installation. For more information or to make an enquiry please contact Veriserv Limited.

Risk of electric shock through poor socket selection

Risk of electric shock through poor socket selection, in this example standard plastic electrical socket outlets have been fitted in an office floor

It seems quite obvious that if an electrical socket is to be fitted into the floor, it would need to be of a type that has been designed to withstand weight or impact, however someone has ignored this criteria, or has not considered the environment.

A standard plastic electrical socket outlet is designed to be mounted into a wall and would not be suitable to floor mount. The sockets in this photo would easily be broken by; the steel chair leg where the leg could become live through direct contact with the live electrical conductors.

This example was identified by a Veriserv engineer whilst carrying out an electrical fixed wiring inspection and test. The engineer would isolate the sockets and complete an “immediate report” to notify Veriserv’s customer.

The sockets should be of the type that are enclosed in a protection enclosure suitable for use on an office floor. This type of socket would normally have a lid to stop ingress of liquids should they get spilt.

Electrical equipment that is intended for use in the workplace must satisfy the safety requirements of  the  Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994  and  must  provide  a  safe connection to the mains electrical supply.

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) publish BS7671, IET wiring regulations seventeenth edition. Section 522.6.2 states that wiring systems shall be selected and erected so as to minimise damage arising from mechanical stress or impact during use or maintenance.

Veriserv would be happy to advise on any electrical compliance matter, or provide you with a quotation to carry out an Electrical Fixed wiring inspection and test of your premises.

Please contact us on 01543 225306 or complete our on line enquiries form.

 

Has your Fire Alarm Battery been tested

Has your fire alarm battery been tested recently ? All fire alarms systems have some sort of backup power to maintain alarm functionality if for any reason the mains power fails. For most systems this reserve power would be provided by a backup battery.

For all fire alarm systems it is imperative that the backup battery is tested during routine maintenance.

The battery shown below was removed from a customers fire alarm system by a Veriserv engineer during periodic maintenance of the system.

There are various faults that can effect batteries however this fault is clearly visible in the form of swelling and distortion. This battery has become swollen as a result of overcharging which has been caused by a faulty voltage regulator within the fire alarm panel and excessive current has flowed into the battery after the battery has reached full charge. The constant current will cause decomposition of the electrolyte within the battery and lead to premature aging. At high rates of overcharge a battery will progressively heat up and as it gets hotter it will accept more current, heating up even further. This is called thermal runaway and it can destroy a battery in as little as a few hours.

A Veriserv engineer replaced this battery and repaired the faulty panel to prevent the new battery suffering the same fate.

Operators and owners of non domestic premises have a duty under the Health & Safety at work Act 1974 to provide a safe place of work. In practice this means that all non domestic premises should have a working fire alarm system which is being properly maintained. Veriserv can provide design and installation services together with a suitable on going maintenance regime.

British Standard BS5839 sets out the code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non domestic premises. Section 25.4 states that the following recommendations are applicable: a) The standby supply should comprise of a secondary (rechargeable) battery with an automatic charger, b) The battery should be of the type having a life of at least four years under the conditions of use likely to be experienced in the fire detection and fire alarm system.

A Veriserv engineer would check the age of the battery and carefully calculate the specification of a replacement where necessary.

Veriserv are accredited to NSI Gold standard and can provide guidance if you are un sure of your duties or need some reassurance as to the condition of your fire alarm system. We can also carry out a mandatory Fire Risk Assessment for your premises to make sure any potential fire hazards are identified and addresses.

For more information please contact us on 01543 225306 or complete our on line form.

Other sources of information;

Fire Industries Association (FIA)

National Security Inspectorate (NSI)

British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE)

Health & Safety Executive (HSE)

 

Portable Appliance Testing why do it

Portable Appliance Testing why do it , In the work place all portable electrical equipment should be subject to ‘User Checks’ carried out by a competent person. As an employer its very important to protect people in premises that you control from electric shock, fire and other hazards. Its also very important to protect yourself and your company from prosecution should an accident occur which is not your fault.

The examples shown in this blog were all identified by Veriserv engineers and demonstrate how your employees could negatively effect safety in your workplace. In other words, employees who ignore the basic principles of electrical safety could land you and others in trouble.

The first example of portable appliance testing why do it, shows a standard 13amp plug where the fuse has been replaced with a peace of metal bar. A correctly rated fuse will blow if the portable appliance develops a fault. This in turn protects the user from potential electric shock and would prevent the possibility of the appliance overheating and causing a fire.

Someone has deliberately replaced the fuse with the bar which is totally irresponsible, given that the appliance is no longer protected at the rated 13 amps. Given the size of the cables it may be that the appliance itself should be connected by a different means to a 13 amp plug. A competent portable appliance test engineer will check ratings and advise accordingly and a veriserv engineer would also disconnect the appliance and issue an immediate report to advise our customer.

This second example was found plugged in and switched on with live conductors showing.

 

Again this is an example where it would be clear to a responsible person that this extension lead is not fit for use.

The third example is another broken extension lead being used in service which clearly exposes people to an electric shock hazard.

Both faults were found by Veriserv engineers during annual portable appliance testing (PAT) and these examples reinforce the importance of maintaining a proper testing regime to protect people in your premises.

Ideally, equipment which has an obvious visual fault should be switched off and taken out of service by an employee or person acting responsibly in the workplace. Only very basic health & Safety training is required to achieve this.

In any event, in the workplace it should not be acceptable for a defect to go unnoticed, therefore the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) recommend that formal visual inspections are undertaken periodically by a competent person to identify these hazardous items.

All Veriserv PAT engineers are qualified to the City & Guilds 2377 Level 3 award in the in service inspection and testing of electrical equipment (PAT)

If you need advice on Portable Appliance Testing please feel free to request a quotation or call Veriserv directly on: 01543 225306.

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(1)

If you need advice on Portable Appliance Testing please feel free to request a quotati

Snake perishes in electrical consumer unit incident

Snake perishes in electrical consumer unit incident – This “incident” may be creative license however the dead snake was found by a Veriserv engineer whilst carrying out a routine electrical fixed wire inspection and test at a domestic property. Although this is a rare situation we would like to highlight the more serious issue of how a domestic consumer unit can be susceptible to fire, particularly if not electrically inspected and tested periodically.

It wasn’t clear from the remains of the snake whether or not it had died directly from an electric shock or from starvation whilst in the electrical consumer unit , but it was clear that it had been in there for quite some time. When it was shown to the tenant living at the property he said that his pet snake had mysteriously disappeared two years earlier and had never been found, so this did explain where the snake had come from.

We would like to raise the more serious issue about consumer units generally and how fires can be prevented by periodic electrical inspection and testing. Consumer units can be the source of a fire caused by overheating of loose terminals, faulty or incorrectly rated breakers, and debris inside the enclosure can be a source of fuel for a fire to start, such as loose paper or other flammable materials.

Here is an example of overheating in a distribution board, again found by a veriserv engineer whilst carrying out a periodic mains fixed wire test.

Most domestic consumer units are made of plastic and a recent update to the 17th edition wiring regulations calls for all consumer units to be constructed using a non combustible enclosure.

The third amendment to BS 7671:2011 (IET Wiring Regulations Seventeenth Edition), includes a new regulation requiring consumer units and similar switch gear assemblies in domestic premises to have a non-combustible enclosure. More information can be found by visiting the Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET).

More useful information can be found by visiting the NICIEC website.

Chapter 42 of the regulations states;

Due to the number of consumer unit fires reported within domestic premises, Regulation 421.1.201 (UK only) has been added and requires  consumer units and similar switchgear to have their enclosure manufactured from non-combustible material or be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure constructed of non-combustible material and complying with Regulation 132.12. This regulation was implemented on 1st January 2016 to allow manufacturers time to ensure an adequate supply of suitable cabinets or enclosures would be available.

For more fire safety advise check the “Fire Kills” gov.uk website

To book a mains electrical inspection and test, or fire risk assessment please call Veriserv on 01543 225306 or complete our inquiry form.

Risk of electric shock with exposed live terminals

The exposed live terminals , were found by a Veriserv engineer whilst carrying out a routine electrical fixed wire inspection and test  at a commercial property. Although this fault was found in a plant room where there is no public access, to workers it poses a significant risk of electric shock with exposed live terminals.

The engineer effected an immediate temporary repair to make this safe, by covering the exposed live terminals and open terminal box with insulating tape to prevent anyone touching the terminals.

The fault was then formally reported to the customer on a Veriserv “immediate” report which would be signed by the customer to acknowledge the fault and act as a hard copy reminder to facilitate a remedial repair. The “immediate report” is a useful way of immediately notifying a customer of all faults found during the fixed wire inspection and test by noting the category of faults helping our customer understand how to prioritise the remedial repairs. All category 1 faults such as this would need immediate rectification or temporary repair, otherwise the circuit would need to be isolated to make safe until a repair can be completed. All Veriserv engineers would provide expert advice and recommendation whilst on site. This is important as the full inspection & test report would follow later. If you need advise please call us on 01543 225306 or complete an Contact us form.

The Electricity at work regulations 1989 sit under the Health & Safety at work act 1974 and impose duties on employers and “duty holders” in respect to electrical systems, electrical equipment and conductors.

The purpose of the regulations is to is to prevent death or personal injury to any person from electrical causes in connection with work activities.

Employers and self employed people must comply with the provisions of the Electricity at work regulations 1989. Regulation 4 (2) states that as necessary to prevent danger , all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent , so far as reasonably practicable , such danger.

A duty holder can demonstrate compliance with the regulations, in respect to their electrical installation, by carrying out an electrical fixed wire inspection and test. As Veriserv are an NICEIC accredited company, we are experts in this area and are happy to advise you on the frequency, scope and cost of the test, having first considered the environment and use of the premises concerned.

If you need advise please call us on 01543 225306 or complete a Contact us form.