- Sample inspection and testing
- What to the EaWR 1989 say?
- So where do contractors and clients get the idea of sample inspection and testing from?
- How do I decide on the level of testing?
- What is the Guardian solution
Sample Inspection and Testing
Sample testing is a perfectly legitimate practice to undertake on an electrical installation. However, it should not be undertaken without consulting the original inspection and test records. Unfortunately there are still organisations in the UK that have no records and the more unscrupulous testing houses still advise ‘sample testing’. In the event of an incident, on a part of the installation that has no records, it is not a defence for a duty holder to say he was wrongly advised by the contractor.
What do the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 say about sample inspection and testing?
The regulations do not specifically discuss sample inspection and testing. However, Regulation 4(1) and 4(2) of The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state that:
“all systems shall at all times, be of such construction as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger.”
“Construction means:- designed, installed, maintained and operated.”
Furthermore, paragraph 69 of Regulation 4 of the Memorandum of Guidance Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 goes on to state that:
“Records of maintenance, including test results must be kept ; otherwise a ‘Duty Holder’ cannot be certain that the requirement for maintenance has been complied with.”
So where do contractors and clients get the idea of sample inspection and testing from?
It is mentioned in a footnote in Guidance Note 3 of the Wiring Regulations where it passes responsibility for determining the scope and extent of the inspection and testing to the inspector (contractor). The guidance note states however that the decision should be based not only on the inspector’s experience but also his knowledge of the installation and by consulting any available records.
Based on the above, ask yourself – Is it acceptable that someone with no knowledge of the installation and with no available records, should choose to test the barest minimum mentioned in a footnote? Bear in mind that most contractors will suggest 20% because it makes life easier for the inspector. It does not however tell you if your installation is safe. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the duty holder, not the contractor.
How do I decide on the level of testing?
Implement a risk assessment approach, considering the ABSOLUTE requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and your ‘defendable’ position as a Duty Holder.
If you have no previous records, a complete inspection and testing programme should be undertaken. Without complete records, the duty holder(s) cannot be certain that their legal responsibility for maintenance has been complied with. Should you decide to implement a 20% inspection and testing programme with no previous records, consider how you would defend yourself against the six ABSLOLUTE regulations applicable to the outstanding 80%?
What is the Guardian solution?
Client log in to read the answer.
Use the flowchart below to aid your decision:
Considering the relevant requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations BS7671 and the many years of experience our staff have in delivering inspection and testing programmes; we are in a unique position to deliver a bespoke service to suit your environment in order to satisfy the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
Guardian recognises that clients cannot just throw money at a problem in these difficult times. A Duty Holder is exposed however, if no inspection and testing has been carried out recently, or there are no adequate records as the law demands. In Corporate Manslaughter legislation for instance, the prosecutors will examine the ‘gap’ between what should have been done and what was actually done. If the failings are construed as gross negligence, then proceedings under this new act will follow if a death occurs.
Guardian recommend that clients show due diligence by implementing a planned programme of inspection and testing completed over one or three years. We will work with you throughout your chosen schedule to provide a safe, compliant and comprehensive inspection and testing programme to include network drawings, corrective remedial action and electronic records.