Most offices are considered low-risk environments in terms of electrical hazards, especially when compared to other workplaces such as factories and warehouses. However, low-risk does not mean no risk, and the hazards should not be considered any less significant.
Most electricity-related accidents and injuries are the result of faulty electrics and installations that make the office an unsafe place for employees.
As an employer, it is your legal and moral responsibility to ensure your employees’ safety and well-being, which is something penned down in a law in the UK known as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
This law also covers electrical safety under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 that dictate how electrical equipment must be used and whether the installations are safe to be used in the office.
These regulations don’t just put the responsibility on the employers but also ensure that the employees and other workers are practising good electrical safety as well.
Electrical maintenance is a big part of electrical safety and must be undertaken by all employers under the supervision of a trained professional.
It refers to the regular reviewing and inspection process of the current electrical systems to see if they are working properly or need repairs and upgrades.
Read on to find out all about office electrical maintenance, what is required in it, why it is important, and how much it costs:
WHAT IS ELECTRICAL MAINTENANCE?
Most electricity-related accidents and injuries in the office are the result of:
Unless you see visual signs of a faulty installation, such as smoke or burning, both of which are seen at a later stage of the issue and can cause some serious harm to both human life and property, there is no clear way to determine the health of the system, except during maintenance checks.
Electrical maintenance in an office includes checking the health of all systems including the electrical wiring, lighting, office appliances, machinery, computers, switches, security systems, heating and cooling systems, and much more.
During electrical maintenance, a professional electrician will ensure that all the above-mentioned systems and appliances are working properly and will also take preventive measures to avoid any future issues from arising.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN ELECTRICAL MAINTENANCE?
Under the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989), it is your responsibility to ensure that all the electrical installations and equipment on the premises are safe to use and will not pose any safety threat.
This responsibility includes:
TYPES OF MAINTENANCE CHECKS
Four types of safety checks are part of electrical installation servicing. They include:
User checks are simple checks done by the employee every time before they use the equipment and must be done with the equipment disconnected from the power supply. They should look for:
Visual inspections require a bit of technical knowledge and, therefore, must be performed by an employee who is trained to do so. They must be performed every 6 to 12 months and include looking for, in addition to the user checks mentioned above:
Detailed inspections are, as the name suggests, more thorough than a visual inspection and are done to identify any damages, defects, or deterioration that may have been missed in the initial checks.
They involve the testing of various circuits and are carried by trained and certified professionals. Depending on the size of the office and the number of circuits to be tested, a detailed inspection may take around 3 to 4 hours to complete and is conducted every 3 to 5 years.
The purpose of a detailed inspection is to determine whether the current electrical installations are satisfactory for continued use or not, at the end of which an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) is made.
An EICR provides a detailed summary of the conditions of the electrics in the office 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.
The fourth type of maintenance check is called Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) which is carried out by a professional electrician. It is recommended once a year, though it is not necessary and depends on the age of the equipment, how often it is used, whether it might have been misused, and whether it has been altered or repaired in the past.
Although there is no precise definition of what constitutes a portable appliance, it is taken to mean that it is an electrical appliance that has a cable and plug, and can be disconnected from its power source and easily moved, hence the name “portable”.
Some common portable appliances in the office include:
COSTS OF OFFICE ELECTRICAL MAINTENANCE
Electrical maintenance shouldn’t be looked at as an expense. Instead, it should be considered an investment into your safety and a way to save money in the long run.
Most professional electricians charge an hourly rate depending on their level of expertise. As of now, a typical electrician charges 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:
WHY IS OFFICE ELECTRICAL MAINTENANCE IMPORTANT?
Electrical maintenance in offices needs to be performed regularly. Here’s why it is so important:
An office’s electrical equipment is very important for the business’s day-to-day operations. The machines, appliances, and outlets all need to be well-maintained so that you can prevent any safety mishaps and rely on them to function smoothly. It also helps extend the life of your electrical equipment.
As an employer or business owner, one of your sole responsibilities includes keeping your property safe for your employees, workers, clients, and visitors. 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 office electricals regularly maintained.
Even if your office seems to be working fine, there could be major problems that are developing and could cause potential harm if not rectified.
During an electrical maintenance service, professional electricians are able to identify small issues before they become major ones. This allows you to repair issues that would most likely go unnoticed until they may have turned into a serious safety hazard.
Faulty electrics aren’t just a safety hazard but can also cost you in terms of exorbitant energy bills. Issues with your electrical equipment can cause it to consume more energy than it needs to operate.
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 an office’s operation process, 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, charge your devices, and use the electrical equipment and appliances?
Disruptions in the office’s operations can be extremely harmful to the business and result in downtime causing wasted resources and financial losses. Regular maintenance will ensure that your office runs disruption-free and the electrics remains free of fault.
As a business owner, you’re always looking at the bottom line, and spending money on the electrical system’s maintenance that seems to be working fine otherwise may seem unnecessary.
However, it is important to understand that these maintenance checks and electrical inspections are actually designed to save you money. If you regularly service the electrical system in your office, the chances of any faults or issues arising will be very less. If you compare, the cost of having your system and equipment repaired is likely to cost you much more than maintenance.
ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS FOR OFFICES
In addition to having your office’s electrical system regularly maintained by a trained professional, there are a few other safety practices that you, your employees, workers, clients, and visitors must follow. They include:
You need to keep your eyes, ears, and nose open and look for obvious signs of damage around the office. Some obvious signs include flickering lights, cracked wall outlets, discoloured outlets, sparks or buzzing sounds, and burning smells.
Putting an unnecessary burden on a socket or outlet, more than it can bear, can lead to electric shocks and fires in the office.
One very common practice in most offices is the use of extension cords. People tend to overload them by connecting to various devices and, at times, even plug in another extension into it.
This is a serious safety hazard and must be avoided at all costs. Therefore, instead of relying on them, you must have a professional electrician install multiple wall outlets.
It is best practice to turn off all appliances and fixtures, including all the lights, computers, and machinery, when they are not in use, especially before heading out for the day.
Leaving equipment and fixtures turned on overnight can make them susceptible to power surges causing them to malfunction and, in serious cases, start electrical fires.
Since most offices are empty at night, it is best to not take the risk and turn off everything, and even though it may seem like a hassle, it is for everyone’s safety.
Fires are dangerous, especially if they aren’t detected at the right time and are allowed to spread. They can cause not just property damage but can severely threaten the safety of all individuals on the premises.
Electrical fires are one of the most common types of fires in the country, most of which are attributed to faulty electrical installations and misuse.
You must do all that you can to prevent them, but what if due to some accident, mishap, or oversight on your part, an electrical fire starts in the office?
In this case, an early fire detection system can be all that stands between you and severe damage and destruction. A good fire alarm will detect the earliest signs of a fire and alert you to take the necessary action.
For added security, you may also opt for professional fire alarm monitoring that links your fire alarm to an alarm receiving centre (ARC) manned by trained professionals so that the relevant action can be taken ASAP.
A commercial electrician has expertise in dealing with electrical installations and maintenance in commercial buildings such as offices. Their typical tasks include common electrical installations and repair, and working on lighting, heating, and general building requirements.
It is best to consult with them when it comes to the right installation and maintenance of your electrical systems since they have the necessary training and expertise, along with lots of experience working in the field.
They always put safety first and are well-versed with the rules and regulations governing electrical systems in commercial properties.
In addition to that, their work is also fully insured and they can provide you with the correct certifications at the end of an inspection.
CONTACT CALDER ELECTRICAL
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