This is a question that we get asked a lot of times and there are several parts to the answer, so let’s look at this stage by stage.
Firstly there’s the humanitarian issue, do we want to put our staff, ourselves or the public in danger? Off course we don’t, but that’s exactly what we are doing if we do not maintain all equipment in a safe manner. According to some HSE statistics 1% of all industrial accidents are as a result of electrocution from faulty or badly maintained electrical equipment, however this 1% of accidents represents 6% of total fatalities.
Secondly there’s a business continuity issue, whilst all equipment will be out of service for a very short moment (during testing) this is minute compared to the same piece of kit electrocuting someone. At this point your production will be stopped whilst HSE and police investigate the circumstances, your man power will have been reduced (the member of staff being off sick or even killed) the piece of kit will probably need to be repaired or replaced, all this is costing the company time.
Thirdly we have an intellectual issue, having had an incident it’s almost certain that you will have a negative effect on morale within your work force, as they will feel that they are not valued enough to look after. In addition to this your professional image to your existing and potential customers will also be affected, how many of them want to be associated with a company that is careless or just doesn’t care?
Next we have the cost to the company, yes there is a cost involved in having the equipment tested and with this you get what you pay for. To test an electrical appliance properly in accordance with IET code of practice, 4th edition takes between 4 and 6 minutes (so if anyone tells you he can test more 120 in a day, then beware) If you take the cost of the testing and put it against the items we have already covered then the alternative costs involved would be; court costs in being sued for negligence or even prosecuted for corporate manslaughter, loss of production, sick pay, reduced production from remaining staff, replacement or repair of the piece of kit, HSE costs, loss of revenue and you will still need to pay for your appliances to be tested.
If by now you’re getting really depressed about this, then buckle up because there’s more. According to fire brigade statistics 26% of fires, on commercial premises, are caused by faulty electrical equipment, this means there is a potential for one in four businesses to be the victim of fire as a result. The consequences of a fire on your premises are potentially far more serious than previously explained; more injuries, more fatalities, greater loss of continuity, removal from the market place (whether this is temporary or permanent), greater costs or even total loss of your business.
“This may all be inconvenient, but our insurance will pay to get us back on our feet” check your small print, because you may find that by not carrying out your best endeavors to prevent these incidents, that you have invalidated your insurance, there may also be a clause that states you must comply with all of your legal duties.
Which brings us to the last point, “why do I need to test my electrical equipment” because it’s your legal duty, under various health and safety legislation, it is your responsibility to maintain all equipment in a safe manner and the best way to do this is employ a regime of regular inspections and testing.
We hope that we have been able to answer the question and demonstrate that having your appliances tested is not a cost, but an investment in your company’s future prosperity. Should you have further questions about this subject or any other health and safety issues, then please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org