Fixed Testing - is it a Legal Requirement?
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, which cover electrical safety testing, place responsibility on the employer to protect the health and safety of employees and visitors to the workplace. This is legally enforced by the HSE (Health & Safety Executive).
Obtaining an EICR is the best way for employers to demonstrate compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 as well as the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
Electrical Testing - How often is it required?
The required frequency of fixed wire testing is determined based on the installations' use, the operating environment and external influences to which it might be subjected. Guideline testing intervals for different types of organisation are set out within the latest Electrical Standards (currently BS7671:18th Edition).
Fixed wire testing in a commercial office is typically every five years whereas testing in a leisure complex is typically every three years whilst a spa or swimming pool would require annual inspection. An electrical installation exposed to a wet environment will most likely deteriorate quicker than one in a dry environment and therefore the testing is required on a more frequent basis. In addition to the stated intervals, an appropriately competent person should perform visual interim checks.
Larger companies or those with multiple sites may choose to test part of the site at a time for example, for a 5-year testing frequency, 20% could be tested each year, or 33% each year for a 3-year frequency. This can help spread the cost and minimise disruption. As long as the entire installation is tested within the required testing interval, it is ok to spread the testing in this way.