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We rely so much on electricity to go about our lives that, at times, we forget how dangerous it can be. Anyone who has ever gotten an electric shock knows what we’re talking about.
From the lights in your room to the appliances in your house, just about every product or machine that we use works on electricity. This is true not just for homes and offices but factories and other industrial workplaces as well.
Factories these days have become almost fully automated with all processes depending completely on an uninterrupted power supply.
Though with advances in engineering and through well-designed electrical systems it has become possible to run them without any noticeable problems, they do require regular upkeep and maintenance.
Electrical maintenance is s huge part of electrical safety and could be what stands between you and serious electricity-related accidents, injuries, or even death.
With an increased reliance on electricity, electrical maintenance has become more vital than ever. Imagine the extensive downtime and data loss a single failed component in the electrical system could cause in a factory.
In addition to that, you are liable under the law as an employer or factory owner to ensure the electrical installations and equipment in your factory are safe to be used by the workers.
Read on to find out what electrical maintenance is, what is required in a factory electrical maintenance, the importance of keeping the factory’s electrical systems safe, and much more:
Electrical maintenance refers to all the aspects of testing, inspecting, monitoring, fixing, and replacing components of an electrical system.
It is generally performed by a licenced professional with adequate knowledge of the laws and regulations and covers areas such as lighting systems, electrical machines, generators, hydraulics, surge protection, and transformers.
Most electricity-related accidents and injuries in factories are the result of poorly installed and inadequately maintained electrical equipment, faulty wiring, overloading, overheating, short-circuiting, damaged cables, poor earthing, power surges, defective equipment and appliances, and misuse of equipment.
As an employer, it is your responsibility under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 to ensure safe working conditions for everyone on the premises.
The inability to do so may result in some serious legal action as well as a bad reputation for not caring enough for your employees and workers.
A factory’s work environment must be safe, particularly for the workers exposed to electrical hazards that could potentially cause them harm.
Because of the nature of the work in factories, the workers are surrounded by potential electrical hazards on a daily basis. Therefore, it is vital for the employers to eliminate the hazards and for the employees to know the best safety practices.
The requirement consists of conducting regular tests and inspections by trained professionals who have adequate knowledge of the electrical laws and regulations.
Electrical Installations need maintaining and servicing regularly as recommended in the British standard wiring regulations. This can be done by undertaking visual inspections to full electrical testing.
In addition to the professional checks and inspections, the users themselves, aka the factory workers, are required to run a quick check before using any electrical equipment or machinery around the factory. These user checks are carried out to look for:
Visual inspections, as the name suggests, are carried out by certified electricians to identify any visible signs of damage, defects, or deterioration.
They include checking all the sockets, plugs, light fittings and switches, electrical cables and leads, extension leads, earthing and bonding, and any visible signs of wear and tear and burning or scorching.
During a visual inspection, the professional electrician is provided with complete access to the factory and, depending on the size of the property, it can take around 1 hour to complete.
Notes are taken as part of the visual inspection and a Visual Inspection Report (VIR) is issued at the end of it that details the findings of the inspection. This includes the number of observations and recommendations and an overall summary of the condition of the electrical installations in the factory.
Full electrical testing refers to a detailed and extremely thorough inspection that identifies any damages, defects, or deterioration that may have been missed in the initial checks.
It involves testing all the circuits, appliances, machinery, and installations around the factory, with the main purpose of determining whether the current installations are satisfactory for continued use or not.
These inspections are conducted by trained and certified professionals and, depending on the size of the factory and the number of circuits to be tested, it may take around 3 to 4 hours to complete and is conducted every 3 to 5 years.
An EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) is made at the end of the inspection, which is basically a detailed summary of the conditions of the electrics in the factory and whether they comply with the current British Standards for electrical safety.
In addition to recording several observations, an EICR also makes recommendations where improvements may be required for safety.
Once the EICR check is completed, a certificate of the electrical installation is provided, classifying the condition of the installation into three codes: Code C1, C2, or C3.
Code C1 indicates that danger exists and immediate action is required, Code C2 indicates that, while the observation is not considered to be dangerous at the moment, it could become a real and immediate danger if a fault or other foreseeable event was to occur, and Code C3 indicates that, while the observation is not considered to be dangerous at the moment, improvements would contribute greatly to the overall health of the system.
PAT testing is done on portable appliances that can be defined as those appliances in the factory that have a cable and plug and can be disconnected from their power source and easily moved, hence the name “portable”.
These tests are carried out by a professional electrician and are recommended once a year. You can extend the time depending on the age of the appliance, how often it is used, whether it might have been misused, and if it has been altered or repaired in the past.
After completing the test, the certified electrical contractor will attach a sticker to the appliance indicating the health of the system in terms of a pass or fail.
There are currently no strict legal regulations making it necessary to conduct PAT testing. However, as part of your responsibilities as a good employer, you must ensure that all your portable machinery is in good working condition, and the best way to go about that is through PAT testing.
Most individuals and businesses see electrical maintenance as an unnecessary expense and look for ways to get out of it. This is an extremely dangerous and problematic approach and it must be changed.
Instead of looking at it as a cost, electrical maintenance must be considered an investment that not only keeps you and your employees safe but also helps you save money in the long run. Yes, that’s right, we’ll discuss that in a bit.
Most professional electricians charge an hourly rate of around £40/hr or more on average. The day rate is somewhere between £200 and £250/day.
PAT testing may cost you £1 to £2 per appliance with a minimum of 50 items, and an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) may cost you anywhere between £100 and £170.
The total cost of electrical maintenance may vary depending on several factors that include:
Factory electrical maintenance is an integral part of electrical safety and must be conducted regularly. Here are all the reasons why you must never not deem it necessary:
A factory runs on electrical equipment and machinery, both of which are extremely important for day-to-day operations.
The machines, appliances, and electrical installations all need to be well-maintained so that you can prevent any safety mishaps and rely on them to function smoothly, in addition to increasing their lifespan through regular servicing.
As an employer or factory owner, one of your sole responsibilities includes keeping your property safe for your employees, workers, and visitors, and as you know very well by now, problems with the electrical system can lead to safety hazards, including the risk of fires.
Even the smallest mishap can lead to extremely unsafe situations and you may be held liable for any injuries that occur on the premises, which is why it is extremely important to have the factory electricals regularly maintained.
Sometimes, even when all the factory operations seem to be running smoothly, there could be major problems developing that could cause potential harm if not rectified at the right time.
During an electrical maintenance service, professional electricians are able to identify small issues before they become major ones, allowing you to repair issues that would most likely go unnoticed until they may have turned into a serious safety hazard.
Faulty electrics can lead to high energy costs since, most of the time, the issues with your electrical equipment can cause it to consume more energy than it needs to operate.
With unsafe electrics, you not only put all those on the premises at risk but also waste a lot of energy and money in terms of exorbitant energy bills.
Routine electrical maintenance will get rid of these issues, help you identify ways you can save energy, and allow you to save money in the long run.
As discussed above, electrical systems are a vital part of a factory’s operations, without which you won’t be able to get more than half of the things done.
Imagine going into work one day only to find that there is no electricity due to a fault in the system. How would you turn on the lights and use the electrical equipment and machinery?
Disruptions in the factory’s operations can be extremely harmful and result in downtime causing wasted resources and financial losses. Regular maintenance will ensure that your factory runs disruption-free and the electrics remains free of fault.
Another major issue with faulty electrical installations is that they cause power surges and frequent outages, both of which are extremely harmful to the appliances and machinery that rely on a steady flow of electricity, and may cause them to malfunction or get damaged.
Depending on the type of factory you run, these machines may be very pricey and getting them repaired or replaced could put an unnecessary financial burden on you.
Regular electrical maintenance will ensure that these issues never arise, and if you compare the cost of having your system and equipment repaired vs the cost of electrical maintenance, the latter is much less and will actually help you save money in the long run.
The importance of electrical safety in a factory cannot be emphasised enough. In addition to ensuring proper installation and maintenance of the electrical systems, you need to make sure all the people on the premises are trained to follow the best safety practices.
Factory workers technically run the factory, which is why it is so important to educate them on the importance of electrical safety and train them on the best safety guidelines to make it a safe working environment for them and those around them.
Some dos and don’ts for working with electricity in a factory include:
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.
We have experienced and fully qualified electrical engineers on hand to deliver a professional and high-quality service and are NICEIC registered following the current wiring regulations.
If you have unplanned issues within your home or business, we can provide a call out service to rectify and solve any problems. Anything from circuits tripping, loss of power, and broken items that need repairing, to checking for potential faults and safety hazards.
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 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 talk to our certified team of electricians right away!
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