Top Safety Concerns Addressed by Commercial Electrical Testing

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Commercial Security Safety

When it comes to commercial properties, owners don’t just have an obligation to the tenants, but they are also responsible for the safety of the lives of other people who visit the property! Commercial properties have strict regulations that maintain the safety of the assets as well as the people who occupy the space.

This is why commercial electrical testing is of utmost importance! Thanks to the regulations set according to the British Standards, electrical testing has helped curb the incident rates of damage or loss caused by fires, electrical shocks, and any other electric-induced incident.

If you want to learn more about commercial electrical testing and how it addresses top safety concerns, then this guide is just for you. Read below to learn more!


Depending on the type of business the commercial property hosts, most commercial properties have more or less the same electrical layout that you would find in many homes. However, there can be discrepancies in the layout of the property that hosts an industrial business or an office space that could require way more complex electrical systems.

For example, electrical hazards in the workplace are particularly dangerous because of the closed space and the presence of multiple employees near electrical components.

The main injuries caused by electrical hazards are electrocution, electrical burns, and electric shocks. In serious cases, the hazards may even turn fatal, like in the case of an electrically induced fire.

Similarly, commercial properties that are used for industrial purposes or small-to-mid-sized businesses can also have several threats!

Some common electrical hazards in commercial properties include:

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.

Earthing Issues:

Earthing problems are extremely common and can endanger the lives of people on commercial properties. Earthing problems occur due to a connection issue with the earthing system. When this happens, the exposed and conductive parts of electrical equipment may carry a current that can cause an electrical shock when touched.

Overloaded sockets and circuits:

Sockets and circuits may overload and overheat when there are too many devices or appliances connected to a single outlet or if the resistance of the wire is not adequate. This may result in a fire and put all those on the property in danger. Furthermore, if the property runs industrial operations, then you would need to be extra careful due to the heavy load required for machinery around the property.

Overloaded extension lines:

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. Furthermore, the quality of the extension can also have an impact on its overall safety!

Damaged or exposed wiring:

Exposed wiring can be a shock hazard if touched and can also start a fire if it encounters flammable materials like cloth or chemicals. Exposed wiring can particularly be a problem when it is in close contact with other wires too. In this case, the wiring can overheat and cause a fire.

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.

A less obvious and common safety concern could also be caused by human error. For example, highly complex systems with multiple electrical components can be quite cumbersome to deal with. In this case, if you opt for a sub-par electrical installation service, then you may be subject to human error.

In this case, the inexperienced electrician may fail to detect an issue or cause a potentially cascading issue due to the improper or inappropriate installation of an electrical component.

The problem with this kind of error is that it may be hard to detect. On the surface, the installation may work as intended but, given time, the accumulation of damage caused by a build-up of thermal or electrical energy may compromise the entire system!

The best way to address these safety concerns is to opt for a professional electrical installation service, like Calder Electrical. By going with professionals, you can significantly cut down the risk of electrical faults and increase the overall safety of the property.


Commercial electrical testing is by far the best way to prevent electrical problems in commercial properties discussed above.

With the help of testing, electricians can detect, inspect, and diagnose these issues before they become a problem. Statistically, commercial properties that undergo frequent electrical safety tests are more likely to be safer in the long term than properties that don’t follow the recommended maintenance or inspection schedule provided by the electrical installation company.

Electrical testing is also legally required which is why business owners and property owners have to make sure that all the electrical systems are maintained as expected and all the appropriate building regulation laws (such as Part P) are followed religiously!

There are four types of safety checks for commercial properties:

User checks

Businesses must have a policy of reporting issues as soon as they are detected to maintain the safety of all personnel on the property. User checks refer to routine checks done by the employees where they look for obvious visual signs such as damages to the cables, plugs, and wall outlet, burn marks on the equipment, plugs, and sockets, trapped, knotted, or frayed cables, and water damage to the equipment.

Visual inspections

Visual inspections are more thorough and require considerable experience and technical knowledge.

They are performed by trained and certified electricians and must be done every 6 to 12 months. They include looking for damages to any part of the plug, fuses and wires connected incorrectly, exposed wiring, and discolouration of any sockets. After the inspection, a Visual Inspection Report (VIR) is created and shared with the concerned stakeholders.

Detailed inspections (Fixed Wire Testing)

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 to ensure that it is safe to use and complies with British Standards BS 7671.

Regular electrical inspections and testing provide peace of mind and can significantly curb the chances of damage caused by electrical faults. These tests can also catch issues caused by the depreciation of electrical components.

Please keep in mind that even if you install high-quality components, they will still be subject to regular wear and tear. In other words, every component that has electricity going through it will deteriorate over time due to thermal and electrical energy.

This is why fixed wire testing is incredibly important, even for commercial properties with high-quality installations.

The testing process may start with a visual inspection of the property, which is conducted by a professional.

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

  1. Inspection – Problems are identified and documented.
  2. Operation – Problems are confirmed by replication.
  3. Reporting – Problems are addressed with proper reporting.

The first step is to inspect the overall health of the electrical system and involves a qualified electrician checking the wiring and electrical installations for faults like cuts, fraying, or exposed wires.

In the second stage, the electrician will try to find faults by operating equipment that shows warning signs of electrical faults. They will check the electrical equipment by switching it on and off and will also test the residual current device (RCD) to see if the safety components are working as expected.

In the final step, they will compile a report of all the faults and issues with the wiring and electrical installations.

This report will also cover previously identified defects that have been fixed as well as any new problems that were detected during inspection. These problems will be prioritised depending on their severity and urgency.

These findings will be classified into one of the following codes depending on their severity:

  • 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.


PAT Testing

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

This includes a wide range of appliances including laptops, printers, photocopiers, coffee machines, microwaves, small electrical devices, and other related equipment.

Once all the electrical appliances have been identified, a certified electrician will begin conducting their test which includes testing for earth continuity, insulation resistance, and polarity. These tests usually require specialised equipment such as PAT testers that give extremely accurate and reliable results.

Although there is no legal requirement, 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.

If the commercial property has multiple portable electrical appliances and is heavily dependent on them, then regular PAT tests may be recommended.


In the UK, the scheduling of electrical testing will depend on the type of business and the specific electrical installations on the property.

For example, 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.


Fixed wire testing, also known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), checks whether your electrical installations and circuits conform to the latest wiring regulations and are safe to use by those on the premises.

Depending on the type of business running on the property, the frequency of this test varies between 1 and 5 years, with some properties requiring more frequent inspections than others (more on this below).

As specified in the latest version of the wiring regulations (BS 7671:2018), the frequency of testing is determined by the type of electrical installations, how often they are used, and the external or environmental influences to which the installations are exposed.

For many business premises, an EICR will be required at the lowest frequency – every 5 years. However, for high-risk environments, such as properties that run high-load machinery, it will be required every 3 years, or earlier.

Please note that the testing schedule may be accelerated if the electrical installation begins to show warning signs of damage!

Commercial properties that require 5-yearly electrical testing and inspection include:

Places that constitute a higher risk, such as those exposed to moisture, dust, and extreme temperatures, require more frequent testing every 1 to 3 years, with more frequent inspections every few months.

Typical workplaces that require 3-yearly electrical testing and inspection include:

  • Industrial units
  • Spas and leisure centres
  • Caravans
  • Agriculture or horticulture establishments
  • Theatres
  • Places of public entertainment
  • Cinemas (back of house)

Typical environments that require yearly electrical testing and inspection include:

  • Cinemas
  • Medical locations in clinics and hospitals
  • Caravan parks and marinas
  • Swimming pools and saunas
  • Petrol stations

Manufacturing and storage facilities such as warehouses and workshops generally fall under the 3-year industrial category if they use heavy machinery on the premises.

It is also common to find elements within an organisation with different testing frequencies, for instance, a manufacturing facility (3 years) with offices inside it (5 years) or a hotel (5 years) with a swimming pool (1 year).

In such instances, each element must be tested and inspected at its appropriate frequency. If you are unsure, it is always best to consult with a professional service that can develop a proper testing schedule taking into account the different elements present on your property to maximise efficiency and minimise any forms of disruption to your business and property.


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 circuit 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 at 0800 612 3001 to get in touch with our professional electricians for more information on the top safety concerns addressed by commercial electrical testing.

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