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Maintaining a safe environment in schools is essential for the growth and well-being of the students. It is the responsibility of the school administration to make them feel safe and secure.
A healthy and safe environment will make them feel more comfortable and encourage them to grow and excel. It is also extremely important for the teachers and staff members to feel at ease and know that they are working in a safe place where their health and well-being are not at risk.
Other than making sure the school is safe from security threats such as burglaries, intrusions, shootings, and vandalism, the school owners must give due importance to electrical safety.
One way to ensure electrical safety on the premises is to have the electrics professionally installed and maintained. This minimises the risk of electrical accidents and incidents and ensures that all the electrical equipment is safe for use.
Read on to find out all about electrical testing in schools, what it includes, how often it must be done, why it is so important, and much more:
Like any other property, schools rely heavily on electrical wiring and installations to power their normal day-to-day operations.
From lighting the classrooms and other areas, powering computers and other electronic devices, operating the heating and air conditioning systems, and running appliances such as ovens, refrigerators, and security systems.
In short, electricity is an essential part of modern schools, without which it would be difficult to run the daily operations and provide a healthy learning environment for the children.
However, as important as electricity is to run a school, it is equally important to make sure it is safe to use and doesn’t pose a safety hazard.
If left unchecked, a number of electrical hazards can occur in schools and put the safety and well-being of everyone on the premises in danger. They include issues with:
Old and outdated electrical wiring and equipment can pose a serious safety hazard in schools. These systems may not be able to handle the electrical load of modern devices and equipment and may result in overheating, potentially causing electrical fires.
Damaged cords and sockets that are loose can be a shock hazard, which is why it is very important to replace them immediately. Extension cords are usually overloaded, which can cause fires, and the long cables can be a trip hazard.
Electrical appliances such as computers and printers are a mandatory part of schools. If they are faulty, they can cause accidents such as electrocution and physically harm people.
It is very important to follow the proper safety procedures and have the wiring and electrical installations regularly tested to minimise the risk of such hazards in schools.
By being aware of these common electrical issues and taking the necessary steps to prevent them from occurring, schools can help ensure electrical safety for both their students and staff.
This may include conducting periodic electrical inspections and having a plan in place to protect against electrical threats and hazards.
Electrical testing is an important aspect of ensuring the safety of students, teachers, staff members, and visitors in a school.
If not properly tested and maintained, electrical systems may pose a serious hazard and increase the risk of injuries, or even death in certain cases. Regular testing and inspections can help identify and rectify any potential hazards before they turn into a serious problem.
One of the main reasons electrical testing is so important in schools is that it helps identify and repair any damaged or faulty equipment. This includes everything from the electrical wiring to the light fixtures and appliances.
If left untested and unchecked, faulty equipment may lead to accidents, injuries, and even electrical fires which may cause serious damage to the property and pose a threat to those inside it.
Imagine some students getting electrocuted and hurt by using faulty equipment installed in the school. Not only will this cause severe distress to the students and their parents but also give a bad reputation to the school for negligence.
Another reason for electrical testing in schools is to make sure that all the electrical installations and their components are up to code. Electrical codes are established by regulatory bodies to ensure that all electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial properties are installed and maintained safely.
By conducting regular electrical tests and inspections, schools can stay compliant with the law and fulfil their responsibility to the students, parents, teachers, and staff members.
In addition to the safety benefits, there are also financial benefits to electrical testing and inspections. Electrical issues are typically costly to repair, and electrical testing can help identify issues before they become more severe and costly to fix.
Therefore, by conducting regular electrical tests, schools can identify and correct problems early on and save money in the long run.
Electrical testing is typically carried out by a qualified electrician or engineer who has the skill and experience to ensure that all the electrical systems and components are safe and in good working order.
One aspect of electrical testing includes inspecting all the electrical outlets, cords, and appliances, and checking for any visible signs of damage or deterioration. The outlets and appliances may also be checked to make sure they are functioning properly and not overheating.
Other than that, it includes inspecting the lighting systems, which comprises checking all the light fixtures and looking for any signs of damage.
The electrician may also check the wiring and electrical panel to ensure they are in good working condition and the circuit breakers are working properly.
In addition to these inspections, electrical testing in schools may also include reviewing the school’s electrical maintenance and safety procedures, such as the emergency lighting and the school’s evacuation procedure in the event of an electrical emergency.
As both an educational institution and a place of employment, schools are legally obligated to carry out regular electrical tests and inspections to ensure everything complies with the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Electricity at Work Regulations.
The Health and Safety at Work Act makes it a legal responsibility of the employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of all the people on their property which, in the case of schools, include staff, pupils, parents, administration, management, contractors, and visitors.
The school owners and administration must also comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 which require that all the electrical systems be properly installed and maintained to avoid any unfortunate incident.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the governing body for electrical safety in schools which requires all schools to comply with the IET Wiring Regulations.
To make sure that is the case, all the electrical wiring and components must be installed and maintained under the British Standard BS 7671, failure of which will result in non-compliance, leaving the school and its management at the risk of prosecution in the event of any untoward incident taking place.
Schools in the UK must undergo regular electrical tests and inspections to ensure the safety of their students and staff.
The frequency of these tests depends on several factors such as the age and condition of the electrical system, the type of school, and the regulations in place.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the electrical installations must be tested and inspected at least every 5 years. This is to ensure that the system is safe to use and serves its purpose well.
The HSE recommends that schools carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) by a qualified electrician to identify any defects and issues with the electrical system.
In addition to the EICR, schools must also carry out regular visual inspections of the electrical system which can be done by a member of the school’s staff trained in electrical safety.
A visual inspection should be carried out at least every 6 months and must focus on any visual signs of damage and defect such as frayed cables, loose connections, flickering lights, circuit breaker tripping frequently, discolouration of the sockets, and burning odours. Any issues identified during a visual inspection must be communicated to a professional electrician for repair.
There are also regulations regarding the safety of portable electrical appliances, such as laptops and projectors used in schools. These appliances must undergo Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) carried out by a professional electrician every year to make sure they are safe to use.
In addition to the fixed wiring and portable appliances, the emergency lighting systems must also be tested every 6 months. Emergency lights are extremely important in the event of power outages as they provide a source of light to safely evacuate the building.
It is very important to note that these timeframes are recommendations and the frequency of electrical testing for your property may vary depending on factors such as the age and condition of the school and its electrical system.
For instance, older electrical systems have an increased risk of wear and tear and may require more frequent testing. Also, if a school has undergone significant renovations or upgrades to the electrical wiring and installations, additional testing may be required for safety purposes.
There is currently no legal requirement for schools to carry out PAT testing. However, since they have a legal obligation under the Electricity at Work Act to ensure a safe environment for everyone on the premises, PAT testing is a great way to test all portable appliances to make sure they are safe to use.
Schools have a substantial number of portable appliances including computers, monitors, projectors, laptops, microwaves, coffee machines, refrigerators, and more.
Often due to budget restrictions, or simply due to negligence, a lot of these devices may be old, outdated, and faulty. From a health and safety perspective, all equipment in the school should be properly tested to identify any issues and rectify or replace the said equipment immediately.
The equipment is divided into two classes: Class 1 and Class 2.
Class 1 appliances refer to the items that are protected using a combination of insulation and the mains Earth. They are made of metal and have a three-core cable and a metal earth pin. During a PAT test, earth continuity and insulation resistance tests are carried out. Typical examples of Class 1 appliances include refrigerators, microwaves, and toasters.
Class 2 appliances, also known as double-insulated appliances, have supplementary insulation and do not rely on an earth connection for protection. They have a plastic case and a double-box symbol on the rating plate. During a PAT test, just the insulation resistance test is carried out. Typical examples of Class 2 appliances include televisions, computers, and photocopiers.
All Class 1 equipment in schools must undergo PAT testing every year, while the Class 2 appliances need to be tested every 2 years. It is, however, a good idea to carry out more frequent tests on appliances that are more in use or any new ones brought into the school.
While keeping a record of PAT testing is not a legal requirement, it is best if you do since it is good practice to keep documentary evidence of any tests conducted on the premises.
PAT testing, like fixed wire testing, is a necessary part of health and safety compliance and helps maintain a healthy and safe learning environment in the school for kids to grow and excel.
In addition to getting all the wiring tested and inspected, make sure you train the school staff to be extra vigilant and to carry out visual checks often. If you suspect something is unsafe, disconnect it from the power source and have it professionally checked as soon as possible.
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 schools.
Or would like us to provide a survey and quote then please contact us and we will be happy to help.Call us on 0800 612 3001