Fixed wire testing, also known as a Periodic Inspection or Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), involves testing a building’s electrical safety to meet health and safety regulations.
Specifically, fixed wire testing is the process required to create an EICR. Conforming to the wiring regulations by performing fixed wire testing ensures HSE compliance for both commercial businesses and residential landlords.
Here, we’ll investigate the legal repercussions of not arranging Fixed Wire Testing.
Fixed wire testing regulations
Wire safety regulations are continually updated. The latest iteration is the BS7671, published as the IET Wiring Regulations in 2018. Failure to meet BS7671:2018 results in non-compliance with the Health & Safety at Work Act and Electricity at Work Regulations, which are the two key pieces of legislation governing electrical safety.
BS7671:2018 specifies how often fixed wire testing should be carried out. This varies depending on:
- The type of electrical installation present
- How often wiring and electricity is used
- Environmental or external factors that affect risk
For most typical commercial installations, EICRs are required every 5 years, i.e., 5 Year Fixed Wire Testing.
Higher-risk properties and installations require 3-yearly inspections (e.g. industrial units and spa hotels or leisure centres) or even 1-yearly inspections (medical, swimming pools, saunas, etc.).
Legal repercussions of non-compliance
Failure to conduct fixed wire testing in accordance with BS7671 results in non-compliance with the Health & Safety at Work Act (often called the HSE Act) and Electricity at Work Regulations.
The risk is twofold, as non-compliance can breach both the HSE Act and the Electricity at Work Regulations.
- The legal repercussions of non-compliance with the HSE Act range from small fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the incident and the harm inflicted.
- Breaches of the Electricity at Work regulations (1989) typically result in fines. Recently, HSE has issued fines of up to £30,000 to small businesses that fail to conduct appropriate fixed wire testing.
It’s worth noting that courts can take action even without a serious incident occurring.
For example, a firm in Hertfordshire was fined £27,000 for failing to maintain electrical systems despite HSE serving four notices to improve safety over an 18-month period.
In another case, electrical burns inflicted on a worker in Leeds resulted in a £30,000 fine. After the court hearing, HSE inspector Julian Franklin said, “HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those responsible for electrical work that put their workers at risk.”
When electrical safety failure results in lifelong injury or death, businesses can expect the very harshest penalties.
Electrical safety and compliance are a top priority for commercial businesses of every type. If you need to book a fixed wire testing appointment, please contact our team today!