If you run a warehouse, you’d be aware of the number of challenges and risks you have to face on a daily basis to ensure smooth operations around the property.
Whether you have a storage warehouse, a production warehouse, a display warehouse, or a distribution warehouse, the day-to-day challenges remain more or less the same.
One of the most vital components of any warehouse is electrical safety. This refers to all the electrical tools, cords, and equipment that, if not handled and maintained properly, could pose a serious threat to the warehouse workers and all those on the premises.
An example would be the use of extension cords which are one of the most heavily utilised electrical equipment. If misused and manhandled, they may overheat and result in a fire that could not only damage the warehouse and its assets but could put potential lives at risk.
As an employer and warehouse owner, it is your legal and moral responsibility to ensure safe operations around the warehouse and to make the work environment a safe one for everyone.
Accidents and injuries related to non-compliance may result in heavy fines and penalties besides damaging your reputation as a responsible employer.
Read on to find out about the electrical risks in a warehouse, what can be one to minimise those risks and the importance of warehouse electrical maintenance:
The electrical systems in a warehouse are designed to handle various levels of power demands; from lighting up the entirety of the warehouse to operating heavy machinery and vehicles.
Fault-free electrical installations are necessary not only for reducing the risk of workplace injuries and accidents but also for smooth operations around the warehouse.
Some of the most common things that contribute to electrical hazards in the warehouse include:
Preventive maintenance of the electrical systems and equipment around the warehouse must be carried out periodically to ensure electrical safety on the premises.
Electrical maintenance 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.
It is undertaken by a certified professional and includes checking the health of all systems including the electrical wiring, lighting, warehouse appliances, machinery, computers, switches, security systems, heating and cooling systems, and much more.
Under the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989), it is your responsibility as an employer and warehouse owner 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:
Electrical installation servicing constitutes a few tests and inspections that are either carried out by the users themselves or certified professionals who are trained to do so. They include:
User testing is the most basic type of inspection that is done by the workers themselves before using a piece of equipment or appliance. The equipment must be unplugged from the power source to eliminate any safety risks.
They are required to quickly inspect it to check for any obvious faults or issues 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.
A visual inspection is carried out by a trained individual to identify any ‘visible’ signs of electrical damage and defect and to reveal any areas that need attention.
These visible signs may include flickering lights, frequent circuit breaker tripping, broken fixtures, loose outlets, frayed wires, discolouration near the switchboards, smoke, and weird odours.
As part of the inspection, an electrician will take down notes and a corresponding Visual Inspection Report (VIR) will be issued providing an overall general summary of the health of the electrical system.
A detailed inspection is more thorough than a visual one and covers all the issues that may have been missed in the initial tests.
They involve the testing of various circuits and are carried by trained and certified professionals. Depending on the size of the warehouse 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 warehouse 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 carried out by a professional electrician and is recommended once a year. You can extend the time depending on the age of the equipment, how often it is used, whether it might have been misused, and if 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 warehouse portable appliances include small machinery, computers, portable heaters and fans, phone chargers, extension leads, and multi-way adaptors,
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:
Electrical maintenance in warehouses needs to be performed regularly. Here’s why it is so important:
With regular use and general wear and tear, electrical installations and wiring tend to deteriorate over time, making periodic maintenance checks a necessity to identify any faults and fix them before they become a safety hazard.
It is a requirement under The Electricity of Work Act 1989 that as a warehouse or commercial space you must make sure that your installations are deemed safe for use by your employees and the public. The inability to do so can land you in some serious trouble and deep lawsuits.
Electrical maintenance helps identify faults and issues before they pose a substantial threat to you or your property. These faults can cause long-term damage to expensive equipment and warehouse machinery, the repairing costs for which could be huge and unanticipated.
Also, faulty and inadequate electrical installations could unnecessarily add to your electricity bill despite you not consuming that much power. Regular electrical inspections help you save energy that doesn’t just benefit you but also the environment.
Safety is probably the biggest benefit you can get out of regular electrical maintenance, all others being secondary advantages. A thorough inspection guarantees that all your installations are compliant with the law and there are no safety risks associated with the electrical system.
Also, having your installations thoroughly and periodically tested minimises the risk of damages, injuries, and other incidents – which is something that all insurance companies look for.
Up-to-date and properly maintained electrics reduce your insurance premiums and help you make a claim in the event of an electricity-related mishap.
In addition to ensuring the correct installation and regular maintenance of electrical systems and equipment, there are a few tips that all individuals must follow to guarantee workplace safety.
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