Meet the team

meet the team

Meet the team

Meet the team

meet the team

Meet the team

Meet the team

What is a fixed wire testing?

Q1. What is a fixed wire testing?

A. Fixed wire testing is an inspection on the condition of an existing electrical installation, to identify (in order of priority) any deficiencies against the national safety standard for electrical installations.

Fixed wire testing will:

• reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment is overloaded
• find any potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards in your electrical installation
• identify any defective DIY electrical work
• highlight any lack of earthing or bonding
Tests are also carried out on wiring and associated fixed electrical equipment to check that it is safe.

 

Q2. Why is fixed wire testing needed?

A. Every electrical installation deteriorates with use and age. It is important for the person responsible for the maintenance of the installation to be sure that the safety of users is not put at risk, and that the installation continues to be in a safe and serviceable condition.

According to Government statistics, each year on average 10 people die and about 750 are seriously injured in accidents involving unsafe electrical installations in the home.

 

Q3. When is fixed wire testing needed?

A. It is recommended that fixed wire testing is carried out at least every:

• 10 years for a domestic installation
• 5 years for a commercial installation
• 3 years for caravans
• 1 year for swimming pools

Other instances when a fixed wire testing should be carried out are:

• when a property is being prepared to be let
• prior to selling a property or when buying a previously occupied property
• where there is reason to believe that damage has been cause to the building such as flooding or fire.

 

Q4. Who should undertake fixed wire testing?

A. Fixed wire testing are best left to an experienced electrician or electrical engineer who holds a City and Guilds 2391 – Inspection, Testing and Verification of electrical installations with relevant experience in the installation types being tested.

 

Q5. What happens during Fixed wire testing?

A. The NICEIC Approved Contractor will check the electrical installation against the requirements of BS7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations ( IEE Wiring Regulations) – as amended, which is the national safety standard for electrical installations, and contains around 850 Regulations.

The period inspection will take into account all relevant circumstances including the following factors:

• Adequacy of earthing and bonding
• Suitability of the switchgear and controlgear e.g. consumer unit e.g. an old fusebox with a wooden back, cast iron switches, a haphazard mixture of such equipment is likely to need replacing
• Serviceability of equipment e.g. switches, socket-outlets and light fittings e.g. older round pin sockets, round light switches and braided flex hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches, sockets mounted in skirting boards may require replacing.
• Type of wiring system and its condition e.g. cables coated in black- rubber, black-rubber was phased out in the 1960s or cables coated in lead or fabric are even older and may need replacing (modern cables use pvc insulation)
• Provision of residual current devices for socket-outlets that may be used to plug in electrical equipment used outdoors
• Presence of adequate identification and notices
• Extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration
• Changes in use of the premises which have led to, or might lead to, deficiencies in the installation.

The Approved Contractor will provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) as part of the fixed wire testing.

 

Q6. Will testing cause a lot of disruption to the power?

A. A short power outage can be expected on each circuit within the system. But because most of the testing is carried out whilst the system is still live, these outages can be planned around your daily activities

 

Q7. What is a fixed wire testing report?

A. Fixed wire testing report is an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is a formal method of recording the findings of the periodic inspection, on at least seven pages.

The main purpose of a EICR is to report on the safety condition of an existing installation. Box E on page 1 should describe the overall condition as either ’satisfactory’, in which case no immediate remedial work is required, or ‘unsatisfactory’ which means remedial work is required to make the installation safe to use.

 

Q8. What happens after a fixed wire test?

A. If the Fixed wire test Report recommends improvements to the installation, Electrical Test Midlands will provide a fixed price quotation for the remedial work to be carried out if you require one.

 

Q9. Is electrical testing a requirement of my insurance company?

A. Increasingly, insurers are insisting that inspection and testing be carried out on a regular basis. If an avoidable accident or a fire occurs where electricity is suspected to have been the cause, then under law if found guilty you will be deemed to have committed a criminal offence. Insurers will not pay fines or compensation suffered resulting from a criminal offence.

 

Q10. My insurers have recently carried out a site survey and they didn’t ask me to have electrical testing carried out?

A. A visiting inspector will not necessarily identify the need to maintain electrical safety at every inspection he makes, especially if there are other issues to be addressed. Because testing has not been specifically demanded does not mean that the legal requirements to comply with electrical safety do not apply.

Q11. Why have I not needed to have testing carried out before?

A. There has always been a requirement to satisfy Health & Safety legislation. In 1989 The Electricity at Work Regulations came into force, which clarifies the need to maintain electrical systems safely. So there has always been the need and test data results will form a major part of your defense should an accident occur which leads to prosecution.

 

Q12. What does it cost to have my portable appliances and/or electrical installation tested?

A. Costs are based on a cost per circuit or appliance tested multiplied by the numbers involved. This, together with the existing condition of and accessibility to the system will determine the overall cost. Please contact us on 01543 546 547 to assess your portable appliance testing or electrical testing needs further.

 

Q13. I rent my business premises, is testing my landlords responsibility or mine?

A. You are responsible to make sure that you and your staff complies with Health & Safety legislation. However, it is usually dependent on the terms of your lease as to whether you or your landlord pays for testing to be carried out on the electrical installation. Usually, if you are on a full repairing lease then the cost will fall to you. Portable Appliance testing will always be at your expense.

 

Q14. I have been told that I only need to have a percentage of the system tested in order to comply.

A. As per the IEE Regulations, you can only rely on sample testing if you hold previous full system records, the installation is considered to be in excellent condition, no faults are found during sample testing and no undocumented alterations have been carried out since the
system was new or last tested. This does not hold true for the vast majority, for which full inspection and testing should be undertaken.

 

Q15. What will happen if I don’t have testing carried out?

A. Unless and until you suffer an accident then probably nothing will happen. However, remember that maintenance of a safe electrical system is a legal requirement. Therefore a preventable accident could lead to prosecution, for which there will be no insurance cover.
You may also find that an insurance loss adjuster could make much of the fact that you may not have maintained the system adequately which could have led to the claim. Again, this could lead to an unsuccessful claim and a costly experience.

 

Q16. I run a small business; do I need to have my portable appliances tested?

A. The Electricity at Work Regulations applies to all businesses from multi-nationals to sole traders. So you still need to comply.

 

Q17. I am afraid that my electrical installation is quite old; won’t testing open a can of worms in terms of remedial work costs?

A. Because we accurately identify any faults found, the cost of remedy in most cases is not too great. The majority of problems found involve earthing deficiencies, which although potentially very dangerous are not usually hugely expensive to remedy.

Q18. How will I know when my next inspection and test is due?

A. A periodic test notice will be applied to your mains board indicating the next due test date. We hold records of all clients, together with re-test dates on our database and remind clients when re-tests are due. Electrical Test Midlands will notify you automatically 3 months prier your testing due date. All your reports will be on our portal which you can access 247 via our website

 

For more advice on Electrical Compliance/Electrical Safety call Electrical Test Midlands Ltd on 01922 710014 or email on admin@electricaltestmidlands.com

Lone Working Needs Sensible Risk Assessment

According to online statistics website, Statista, there were 265,000 electricians working in the UK in 2017 and whilst the numbers weren’t so readily available, it would not be unreasonable to presume that many of them carry out what is referred to as “lone working” as a significant part of their daily work. This includes those employed or self-employed.

Since 2015, certain self-employed persons have been exempted from health and safety law.  This is strictly limited to those whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others.  Clearly work on electrical systems cannot be described as non-hazardous.

Lone working isn’t against the law, but it is essential that you take sensible precautions if you are going to be working alone.

Lone Working Needs Sensible Risk Assessment When deciding if it is appropriate for employees to work alone, employers need to consider if the working environment presents any significant hazard and if access presents additional risks.

Before carrying out work at someone else’s premises it is important to understand the risks inherent with the work and the location.

If they are commercial premises, there must be a record of any asbestos containing materials on the premises and workers should acquaint themselves with this before starting work.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations also require electricians to have attended formal Lone Working Needs Sensible Risk Assessment asbestos awareness training.  It is important that when you chose a training provider, that they be able to demonstrate competence.  AT THSP we currently have seven trainers, all approved by UKATA to deliver this training and with a passion for ensuring that operatives are no longer exposed to the life-threatening risks associated with disturbing asbestos.

Whilst an employer may have drawn up a generic risk assessment for the tasks being undertaken, it is essential that the engineer has been trained to spot any additional hazards and knows what steps to take.  Some hazards can be easily addressed and controlled, however others will need to be referred to a line manager or other competent person.  The Risk Assessment Builder developed by THSP is an intuitive and interactive programme allowing employers to produce site specific risk assessments in a fraction of the time it would take from scratch.  Furthermore, due to the extensive data supporting the tool, users can generate over 10 million different outcomes.  These assessments can be accessed online by employees along with an online briefing to demonstrate that they have received this vital information.

Current advice from HSE is that there are some high-risk activities where at least one other person may need to be present. Examples include:

  • working in a confined space;
  • working at or near exposed live electricity conductors; or
  • health and social care work dealing with unpredictable client behaviour and situations.

Risk assessments and the need to make sure they are suitable and sufficient remains a thorny issue for many employers.  Some Lone Working Needs Sensible Risk Assessment companies rely heavily on libraries of generic assessments, drawn together over the years, or downloaded from remote websites or even “borrowed” from other employers.  This can give “the illusion of control” and where they are clearly irrelevant, encourage employees to disregard them.

How much supervision is needed should be determined in your risk assessment, the higher the risk, the greater the level of supervision required. It should not be left to the individual lone worker to decide if they need help.

Your risk assessment should identify the possibility of an emergency arising and set out clear procedures to be followed.  A first aid kit may be necessary as well as formal training.

Lastly you will need to put in place monitoring and communication arrangements.  This could be:

  • Periodic visits by supervisors;
  • Regular contact by phones, radios or email;
  • manually operated or automatic warning devices; and
  • A robust system ensuring lone workers have returned home safely.

Whatever you do, it is important to ensure that not only do lone workers have the skills, experience, knowledge and training to enable them to work safely, but that those managing them understand their responsibilities.

For more information on working safely or electrical compliance please phone Electrical Test Midlands Ltd  on 01922 710014

UK IS A NATION OF NEGLECT AS RESEARCH REVEALS WE PUT HOMES IN DANGER

According to new research by the Consumer Protection Alliance – a group made up of Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, Gas Safe Register, NICEIC and Which? Trusted Traders, with the aim of promoting consumer safety and protection in the UK – over half of Brits (55%) do not unplug electric appliances that are not designed to be left on, whilst some 52% do not know how to test their smoke alarm for functionality. Shockingly, 22% don’t check that the front door is locked before turning in, leaving them open to potential disaster – yet over half of the nation (51%) would check that the curtains are closed at bedtime. A staggering 62% of Brits admit to not checking the hob is turned off before going to bed; risking appliance damage, or worse.

Despite the importance, 44% of Brits admit that they do not carry out annual safety checks on the electrical appliances in the home. Of those, 42% don’t know how to check them, over a third (34%) are not aware of which appliances need checking and almost a quarter (23%) ‘can’t be bothered’ to organise the check.

Aligned to this, 28% would wait until an appliance had completely broken down before being prompted to get it assessed, meaning what could have been a simple check develops into a major issue. More than a quarter (26%) would only organise a safety check-up when they heard about a friend’s misfortune, such as a boiler breaking down or the hob conking out.

Cheryl Cox, Public Affairs Manager at NICEIC and member of the Consumer Protection Alliance, comments: “It’s worrying that the nation is turning their attention away from safety in the home, and that some wouldn’t even consider using the professionals in times of need. Gas and electrical safety is important year-round, but especially during the winter months when an extra strain is placed on our appliances in the home. We tend to forget that our appliances such as the boiler, gas hob and hot water cylinder are used so frequently that they need extra maintenance. Everyone needs to be aware of the dangers and we believe that safety is paramount, and education is key.”

Worryingly, the survey of 2,000 British adults also reveals a lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to home safety:

  • 64% have ended up paying a professional to fix a botched job that was carried out by a ‘cowboy’ tradesman, which has resulted in spending up to an extra £500 on average
  • 26% were unaware that a boiler requires an annual safety check
  • 17% believe they could carry out a check on gas appliances themselves, with over three in five (63%) taking instructions and guidance from online resources such as Google, YouTube or social media
  • 22% don’t know how, or simply wouldn’t bother, to check if their chosen tradesperson is registered in their profession. (ETM) Electrical Test Midlands is a registered profession.

In response, the Consumer Protection Alliance has launched a national consumer safety campaign warning homeowners and landlords about the dangers lurking in the home. Brits are advised to think safety first with these five top tips to ensuring your home is safe:

  1. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors where appConsumer Protection Alliance Check it! Fire Alarm ropriate and test them on a regular basis.
  2. Arrange for an annual safety check on the following gas appliances:
    • Boiler
    • Gas fires
    • Gas cooking hob
    • Hot water cylinder
  3. Carry out your own annual visual checks on plugs, sockets, cables, leads and light fittings and seek help from a registered electrician if you find any issues.
  4. Arrange for an inspection and test of electrical installations every five years, regardless of whether the property is owned or rented.
  5. When having a gas or electrical safety check carried out, always hire a registered, professional tradesperson such as those on the Gas Safe Register or those registered with NICEIC.

Each year, 350,000 serious injuries are caused by electrical faults. There are as many as 250,000 illegal gas jobs carried out each year and 40 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning annually.

The Consumer Protection Alliance was founded by Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, Gas Safe Register, NICEIC and Which? Trusted Traders with the aim of promoting consumer safety and protection in the UK.

For more information on electrical safety please phone Electrical Test Midlands 01922 710014, email admin@electricaltestmidlands.com

Bags of love

Electrical Test Midlands are currently collecting for personal items for HOMELESS LADIES. Let’s face it, many people are only a few ‘pay days’ away from being homeless too!

Being homeless is bad enough, let alone at certain times of the month for ladies!

With this in mind, Electrical test midlands are collecting donations on behalf of a voluntary organisation who are collecting ‘BAGS OF LOVE’.

What’s a BAG OF LOVE?

Well, it’s basically a handbag you don’t use any more filled with sanitary, personnel items for a homeless lady.

We have made 2 today, containing the following items:-
Toothpaste, toothbrush, sanitary items, deodorant, wipes, shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
(See pic.)

The contents of each bag has cost me so little but will mean SO MUCH to the receiver.
If you can donate any of the above items and/or have a handbag you’re happy to donate, please consider making your own ‘BAG OF LOVE’ for a homeless lady.

We are happy to receive items and pass them on but sadly can’t collect things from people.

If you can donate, just let us know and We can discuss a ‘drop off point’.
Thanks in advance xx

PAT Testing

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ETM Ltd are experts in the field of PAT Testing.

Electrical Test Midlands was originally set-up to cater to the complicated, and ever changing, sector of electrical testing.

Our input within the industry has grown and our amount of experience allows us to interpret, and respond to, the ever-changing UK legislations and regulations that abound the PAT testing industry. Which is probably why we are continually awarded major PAT testing contracts across the UK.

pat testing header

Portable appliance testing is vital in order to prevent your business premises becoming a source of legal liability, injury or, at the worst end of the scale, loss of lives. Employee safety should always be a major consideration within any business – although the occurrence of electrical accidents within the workplace is still all too common.

This is where we step in, to ensure that your business premises is running with full electrical compliance. Giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are not likely to fall victim to legal claims involving faulty machinery, a PC monitor with a loose connection, or even just from the use of a simple Kettle.

The testing procedure, itself, is not daunting or intrusive, and is carried out by ETM engineers in a very flexible and understanding manner. We know PAT testing and electrical safety is vitally important – but, equally so to us, is the efficient running of your business. Therefore, we go out of our way to maintain your business flow throughout the entire testing procedure.

 

Let us take the load

Our PAT Testing engineers will arrive at your premises with their testing tools pre-loaded with your business details. Each of your electrical appliances are tested and each one will be issued it’s own unique bar-code. Upon passing or failing a test the appliance is appropriately labelled and the details of this recorded.

After our engineers have completed the testing stage, they return to head-office to download and prepare your asset register and pass/fail certification and put together reference to any remedial work that was flagged up during inspection. If required, we can then return to rectify any problematic appliances – ensuring you of a compliant workplace and saving you from an electrical appliance related legal claim.

Require PAT Testing within your business? Call the experts, and one of our friendly team will be happy to advise you on how we can help. 0800 066 3227

Fixed Wiring Electrical Inspection

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Fixed wiring in-service electrical inspections, why they are necessary and how they can

benefit your business.

Helping you to understand your responsibilities

Electrical Test Midlands  – sharing technical expertise

It’s a near certainty that your business uses electrical power in

some way. Therefore, in order to manage risks and comply with

the law, your fixed wiring needs to be inspected regularly. Meeting

this requirement effectively, and ensuring that the benefits

outweigh the costs, requires you to be familiar with the concept of

fixed wiring inspection, and to know what approach to take.

Bear in mind, according to the HSE’s website (www.hse.gov.uk/

electricity), about 1,000 people per year have an electrical

accident and about 25 of those are fatal.

Definitions

The independent safety inspection industry tends to categorise

electrical equipment and systems as follows:

  • PAT – Portable Appliance Testing – for items like kettles.
  • Plant – for items such as motors, welding equipment, fans and

air conditioning units

  • Fixed wiring – all the equipment required to distribute electrical

power safely from the origin to all the plant, equipment and

appliances at the relevant site. Fixed wiring includes conductors

(e.g. cables and cords), connections (e.g. distribution boards),

switching devices, protective devices (e.g. fuses, circuit breakers

and residual current devices – RCDs), enclosures and, where

applicable, fire barriers.

Fixed wiring’s broad definition means that its inspection can

encompass little or much. At its simplest, the inspection is a

non-intrusive visual check of accessible components such as

distribution boards, sockets, cables, cords and light fittings.

At its most thorough, it could comprise the following:

? An appraisal of the job, featuring:

  • Job-specific risk assessment
  • Survey and testing of the installation’s earthing,

continuity, insulation, polarity, layout and

accessibility arrangements

  • Enquiries to determine the degree to which parts

of the system can be isolated

  • Review of available documentation

? Visual check of all accessible components

? Labelling, i.e. unique identification of circuits

? Functional tests to check whether all the relevant

components do what they are supposed to do

? Thermographic testing to quickly detect hidden defects as

‘hot-spots’ in the system

? Clear reporting – publishing circuit diagrams, all test

results and a summary of any defects with actions

recommended to make safe.

Presentation1

Electrical Test Midlands  sharing technical expertise

A balance always has to be struck between inspection and

maintenance. Too little inspection/repair, and the risk will be too

great; too much inspection/repair and the cost will be too great.

Of course, the more preventative your maintenance, the lower

the reliance on in-service inspection and repair to control risks

in the first place. You will need to strike a balance between

inspection and maintenance (repair) activities that you are

comfortable with.

Another important consideration is whether you use the same

inspectors for maintenance or perform maintenance independently.

You will also need to choose whether to subcontract or go

in-house, the depth and frequency of the inspection (and

maintenance); and the degree of detail in the inspection reports.

You may simply wish to add electrical inspection to whatever

in-service inspection arrangements you have for other items,

such as your lifting equipment.

Deciding on the depth and frequency of inspection, and the

detail of reports, may be more difficult. The decision needs to be

based on a potentially complex interaction between inspection

activities, maintenance activities, production requirements, and

stakeholder expectations.

In our view: if you are not already doing so, you should make use

of risk-based inspection (RBI) techniques to determine the approach

that you take for the in-service inspection and maintenance of your

fixed wiring.

You should not be too daunted by the thought of applying RBI. The

rigour applied to the RBI assessment should be commensurate with

the scale of the electrical risk at your premises and it might not take

too much effort to complete.

Generally, the benefits of RBI outweigh the cost. RBI delivers a

specification for an inspection and maintenance regime that is

suitable and sufficient and optimises the risk-control-per-unit cost.

A suite of test methods and required outcomes are specified in

detail in the British Standard BS 7671: 2008, often referred to as

the IEE Wiring Regulations. In fact, the requirements of this

standard are not regulations in the legal sense.

The frequency and scope of your in-service fixed wiring

inspections should always be determined by an assessment

of the risks.

BS 7671: 2008 does provide guidance on both frequency and scope

of inspection for low voltage installations (less than 1,000V a.c.

or 1,500V d.c.), based on criteria like the type of premises:

e.g. ‘Three-yearly for a factory and five-yearly for offices.’

Note: this British Standard does not cover the public electricity

supply, electricity on vehicles, nor fixed wiring in quarries, mines

and other hazardous areas (where there is an explosion risk).

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Electrical test midlands – sharing technical expertise

Repairs and conflict of interest

Regarding repairs, the in-service inspection contractor may be

prohibited from undertaking repairs. For example, Etm is a electrical compliance company.

The risks and benefits

A few mA of electrical current can be fatal and the

mains voltage (230V a.c.) should always be considered

potentially fatal.

The principal hazard associated with fixed wiring is electric shock.

However, other hazards should be considered, including burns,

arcing (which can damage the eyes) and ignition – setting fires or

creating explosions if flammable/explosive materials are present.

What is at stake, of course, is the health and safety of people and

significant financial and business losses. So the benefits are clear:

control the risk to control the cost.

The law

The law says that all employers must safeguard the health and

safety of all people affected by their undertaking and, in the UK,

it is a criminal offence to fail in this duty of care.

Fundamentally, employers are required to assess the risks associated

with their business and manage those risks at a tolerably low level.

More specifically, employers are required to comply with applicable

regulations; often a large number of them.

For fixed wiring, the specific regulations are the Electricity at Work

Regulations, 1989 (EAW). The HSE has issued a very useful

document, which is freely available to download from their

website, entitled ‘Memorandum of Guidance on the Electricity

at Work Regulations, 1989.’

You will note that this guidance is non-prescriptive,

in keeping with the goal-setting format of the

regulations, which means that maintenance is a

statutory requirement, but the scope and frequency

of maintenance and inspection should be risk-based:

i.e. suitable and sufficient.

In spelling-out the requirements of the EAW regulations, the

HSE guidance makes it clear that fixed wiring shall be maintained

so as to prevent danger (so far as is reasonably practicable) and

that regular in-service inspection is an ‘essential’ part of

preventative maintenance.

For prescription, you can turn to the British Standard mentioned

above (BS 7671: 2008). Remember: This British Standard is

comprised of non-statutory regulations.

 

For more information

Should you require any further guidance, please contact:

(Etm) Electrical Test Midlands on 01922 710014

admin@electricaltestmidlands.com

www.electricaltestmidlands.com