Electrical testing in offices

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Electrical Testing In Offices

As an employer, it is your legal responsibility to make sure your employees remain safe and protected from any kind of safety or security threat in the office.

This responsibility is governed by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, within which there are the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

These dictate how electricity should be installed and used in a workplace, including making sure that all the electrical installations are safe to use.

Since electrical systems can become dangerous if they are not properly maintained, it is extremely important to have them professionally tested to never put your employees, customers, and business in harm’s way.

Read on to find out all about electrical testing in offices, what is included in it, how often it must be carried out, why it is so important, and more:


Electrical hazards can be found in any workplace but are particularly common in offices where electrical equipment is used frequently.

The main injuries caused by electrical hazards are electrocution, electrical burns, and electric shocks. In serious cases, the hazards may even turn fatal.

Some common electrical hazards in offices include:

  • Overloaded sockets and circuits: sockets and circuits may overload and overheat when there are too many devices or appliances connected to a single outlet. This may result in a fire and put all those in the office in danger.
  • Damaged or frayed wires: wires tend to get damaged over time due to wear and tear. If frayed wires are touched while they are plugged in, they can be a shock hazard.
  • Misuse of extension leads: extension leads are a common office appliance that is often used to provide additional outlets. Although convenient, they are not safe to use and may become overloaded if too many appliances are plugged into them at once.
  • Exposed wiring: exposed wiring can be a shock hazard if touched and can also start a fire if it comes into contact with flammable materials.
  • Misuse of electrical equipment: electrical equipment must be used properly following the best practices. Failure to follow the instructions for use may result in electrical accidents and emergencies.

To prevent electrical hazards in the office, it is important to follow strict safety guidelines which include having the electrical wiring and installations tested and inspected by a professional certified electrician.

By adopting the best practices for electrical safety in offices, you can help prevent accidents and keep the environment safe for your employees, clients, management, and visitors.


Electrical testing is a major part of electrical safety in offices. As a business owner and employer, you are legally obliged to make sure all the electrical systems are well-maintained and safe to use, and these laws apply to all places of work including offices.

A simple way to play your part is to keep an eye out for any visible signs of damage to the electrical system. These visual inspections can be carried out by anyone in the office with knowledge about electrical safety.

Even if you aren’t trained in electrical safety, you can run a quick visual check, also called a user check, before using any of the office equipment to make sure it isn’t faulty.

Some of the most common electrical faults that you may notice around the workplace include:

  • Sparking: if you notice any visible sparks coming from any electrical appliance, switch, or socket, you need to contact a professional electrician and have it checked immediately.
  • Odours: this smells like burning plastic and is usually a sign of faulty wiring. Make sure you consult an electrician and refrain from using the appliance and outlet until they are checked properly.
  • Buzzing sound: electricity isn’t supposed to make any sound, and if it does, it could be caused due to loose connections or frayed wires preventing the electrical current from flowing smoothly.
  • Circuit breakers tripping repeatedly: if the circuit breakers start tripping too often, this may be due to overloading, such as when too many high-power appliances are being used at once.
  • Flickering or dimming lights: if the issue is with a single light, it is best to replace it to determine the cause. If it happens with more than one light, it may be a sign of a fault with the circuit or wiring.


You don’t have to wait for something to go wrong to make things right. You can get proactive and have your electrical system periodically tested and inspected to detect and rectify any issues before they turn into serious problems.

Electrical testing and inspections can help unearth a number of issues with your office electrics including:

  • Potential shock risks and fire hazards
  • Defective or damaged wiring
  • Lack of earthing or bonding
  • Circuit or equipment overloading

Other than helping you identify any potential health and safety risks, electrical testing can provide you with a number of benefits such as:

Enhanced efficiency

Electrical testing can help identify and rectify issues that may be causing a drop in electrical efficiency. For instance, outdated and faulty wiring may cause a drop in the power quality, causing the equipment connected to it to perform poorly.

By identifying such issues on time, businesses can significantly improve the efficiency and performance of the electrical systems.

Cost savings

When electrical issues become serious, they may cost a lot of money to fix. A small issue may seem insignificant at first, but if left unchecked, it could lead to a costly repair down the line.

By conducting regular electrical testing, businesses can identify issues before they turn into a big mess and avoid costly repairs, saving money in the long run.

Compliance with regulations

Most offices and commercial buildings are required to adhere to certain codes and regulations regarding electrical safety. This includes proper installation, use, maintenance, and testing of the electrical system.

Conducting regular electrical testing helps businesses stay compliant with the law and avoid any legal issues down the line.

Insurance requirements

Having your electrical installations thoroughly and periodically tested minimises the risk of damages, injuries, and other incidents – which is something that all insurance companies look for.

If you can prove that your electrical installations are properly installed and maintained, some insurers even offer discounts on premiums.


There are two types of tests you can conduct for the safety of the electrical system in your office. They are:

  • Fixed wire testing
  • Portable appliance testing (PAT)

Let’s look at each one in detail:


Fixed wire testing, also known as electrical testing, periodic inspection and testing, EICR testing, and EICR report, inspects and assesses the main electrical wiring system in order to ensure that it is safe to use and complies with British Standards BS 7671.

Periodic electrical inspection and testing provide a professional view of whether the system is in good shape or not and check for any faults and issues that may start to manifest over time.

The testing process may start with a visual inspection of the property, which may or may not be carried out by a trained professional.

A detailed periodic electrical inspection is carried out in three steps that include:

  1. Inspection
  2. Operation
  3. Reporting

The first step refers to diagnosing the health of the electrical system and involves a qualified electrician checking the wiring and electrical installations for defects.

In the second stage, the electrician will try and operate things that show signs of fault or damage. They will check the electrical equipment by switching it on and off and will also test the residual current device (RCD) for the circuits.

Lastly, they will compile a report of all the faults and issues with the wiring and electrical installations. Any previously identified defects that have been fixed will be included in the report, and any new ones will be prioritised for completion depending on the level of risk associated with them.

After the testing has been done, the findings will be classified into one of the following codes depending on the seriousness of the matter:

  • Code 1 (C1): immediate attention required– represents danger and risk of injury;
  • Code 2 (C2): urgent remedial action required;
  • Code 3 (C3): improvement recommended;
  • Code FI: need for further investigation.


In the UK, the frequency at which electrical testing is required in offices depends on the type of office and the specific electrical installations and equipment that are present.

Fixed wiring installations, such as those found in offices, must be tested and inspected at least every 5 years, or sooner if there is a change in the use of the building or if any alteration or addition is made to the electrical installation.


Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is a process where all the electrical appliances and equipment that are portable in nature undergo testing and evaluation to make sure they are safe to use.

This includes a wide range of appliances including computers, printers, photocopiers, coffee machines, microwaves, and other office equipment.

PAT testing involves several key elements, one of which is visually inspecting all the portable appliances to make sure there are no signs of wear and tear and they are in good working order.

Next, a range of tests are conducted to check the safety of the equipment. They include checks for earth continuity, insulation resistance, and polarity. These tests usually require specialised equipment such as PAT testers.

If any problems are identified during the tests, the appliance in question must be repaired or replaced, as necessary. In some cases, the appliances fail the test and are labelled unsafe for use and must be removed from service until they can be repaired or replaced.

Although there is no legal requirement to carry out the tests, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises all commercial property owners to conduct PAT tests every 3 to 12 months, depending on the type and use of the appliance. The frequency depends on the type of equipment being tested and the specific requirements of the office.

Some offices prefer to have more frequent PAT tests if they have a large number of electrical appliances or if the daily operations are heavily dependent on them.


In the UK, electrical testing in offices must be conducted by a qualified and competent electrician who has the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to safely conduct the tests and make sure the electrical system is in good working order.

This can be demonstrated through a combination of formal training, practical experience, and ongoing professional development.

They must also follow all relevant regulations and standards when conducting electrical testing in offices. This includes the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the British Standard BS 7671 (also known as the “IET Wiring Regulations”).


In addition to the electrical tests and inspections conducted by professional electricians, everyone in the office needs to follow a few basic electrical safety tips to keep the office safe for everyone:

  • Use only properly grounded outlets and extension cords to reduce the risk of electrical shock and fires.
  • Avoid overloading the circuits. Plugging in too many devices at once may overload the circuit and cause a fire.
  • Make sure to use surge protectors for sensitive equipment such as computers and servers.
  • Keep flammable materials such as paper, cardboard, and fabric away from electrical outlets.
  • Make sure all appliances are in well-ventilated areas for proper heat dispersion.
  • Ensure the fuses and consumer unitsare installed correctly and functional at all times.
  • Stop using and disconnect faulty equipment as soon as you suspect a fault.
  • Provide a clearly identifiable switch near the fixed machinery to cut off the power supply in case of an electrical fault or emergency.
  • Remove any electrical cords from high-traffic areas to eliminate the risk of tripping and damaging the cords.
  • Know and follow the course of action in case of an electric shock.
  • Know how to operate a manual fire alarm system in case of a fire.
  • Call the fire and rescue services immediately in case of an electrical fire.


We have been providing electrical services to residential, commercial, and industrial properties for over 40 years and are specialists in all aspects of electrical installations, maintenance, and testing.

All our work is fully insured and we work to meet the standards set by the NICEIC to make sure all your electrical installations meet the current regulations and all the notifiable work is signed off by the local authorities.

If you have unplanned issues within your home or business, we can provide a call-out service to rectify and solve any problems such as circuits tripping, loss of power, broken items that need repairing, or to check if you feel something is unsafe or a potential hazard.

Our team can generate a Visual Inspection Report (VIR) to identify anything visual that does not comply with the standards or looks unsafe, as well as a full Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) where we will identify and test each circuit to make sure they are not deteriorating and are safe for use within the current standards and regulations set by the BS 7671.

We can also provide PAT testing of appliances to make sure that any items such as kettles, computers, and microwaves are safe for use in the home and workplace.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 3001 to get in touch with our professional electricians for more information on electrical testing in offices.

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