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Electrical inspection and testing - a guide

To comply with health and safety laws, regular electrical inspection and testing needs to be performed. This needs to be carried out by qualified electricians. This applies to both fixed electrical installations and portable appliances.

The purpose of this guidance is to highlight what can be done by dutyholders to achieve electrical safety compliance with the duties imposed by the Regulations.

The inspection process

To ensure compliance with BS7671 regulations, a qualified electrician has to complete an electrical inspection and testing procedure that’s both correct and suitable. This will include visual inspection and testing carried out with appropriate testing equipment.

The electrical system being tested could be either a new build or an alteration. In this case, a comprehensive Initial Verification Inspection and Testing procedure will be carried out. If the electrical installation is an existing system, a Periodic Inspection and Testing procedure will be completed instead.

Visual Inspection

A regular visual inspection should be carried out in all electrical installations. A visual inspection of this type does not necessarily need to be carried out by an electrician, but it should reveal any areas which are obviously in need of attention.

Time Intervals between Periodic Inspection & Testing

With the exception of the specific time-frames outlined in the regulations made under the Dangerous Substances Act, the legislation doesn’t prescribe time periods between full electrical inspection and testing.

It does direct that electrical installations should be inspected and tested “from time to time where required having regard to the nature, location and use of the installation”.

The question arises as to if and when periodic inspection and testing is appropriate and what are the maximum intervals that should elapse between periodic inspection and testing.

Section 62.4 of the “National rules for Electrical Installations” 2008, published by the Electro Technical Council of Ireland (ETCI) states that “the frequency of periodic inspection and testing shall be determined by the type of installation, its use, the frequency of maintenance and the external influences to which it is subjected”.

The time between periodic inspection and testing of installations should be based on a risk assessment with the intervals dependant on a number of parameters such as the:

  • age of the installation

  • quality of the installation

  • environmental circumstances

  • type of persons using the installation

  • amount of supervision of the person responsible for the installation

Competence of Testers

A person must be competent to safely undertake periodic inspection and testing.

A person is deemed to be a competent person where, having regard to the task he or she is required to perform and taking account of the size or hazards (or both of them) of the undertaking or establishment in which he or she undertakes work, the person possesses sufficient training, experience and knowledge appropriate to the nature of the work to be undertaken.

If you are a commercial business that requires electrical testing and inspection, to ensure electrical compliance, please don't hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team, you can contact us here: 01604 696113 |


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