Insights: Electrical Safety and Testing
How to minimise the risk of electrical fires

In recent history, faulty electrical appliances and accidental circumstances caused numerous electrical fires, damaging electrical systems, and setting off smoke alarms. Electrical fires are often caused by malfunctioning electrical equipment or by using power strips and extension cords. Overloaded circuits, damaged wiring, and frayed or broken wires can also cause a fire, as can heat from any electrical components. If the equipment is located near combustible materials, it could also cause a fire.

Electrical fires risks

Visual checks are essential and can help identify a lot of problems before they go on to cause fires. However, not every fault can be detected that way. Some faults don’t manifest themselves visually, so you may need to dig deeper into your assessment methods.

There aren’t any rules that specify how often electrical equipment should be tested. However, it should be done regularly to ensure that it remains safe to use and is in good working order. Not only does this help to keep you and your staff safe, but it could also save you money by reducing the risk of having to replace equipment prematurely due to broken parts or wear and tear through heavy use.

Equipment should be more thoroughly tested by a competent person often enough that there is little chance the equipment will become dangerous between tests. Equipment used in a harsh environment should be tested more frequently than equipment that is less likely to become damaged or unsafe. Electrical installations should be tested often enough that there is little chance of deterioration leading to danger. Any part of an installation that has become obviously defective between tests should be de-energised until the fault can be fixed.

In 2020, faulty electrical appliances were calculated to have caused an average of 43 fires a week in England alone in figures released during that year. Although there isn’t a specific law governing PAT testing, The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 requires any electrical equipment that could cause injury to be maintained in a safe condition. A qualified person will be able to both carry out the tests as well as advise on the frequency of testing depending on the type of equipment and environment it’s located in.

Electrical fires prevention

The risk of fire is constantly being addressed through ever-tightening legislation, such as the 2020 Electrical Safety Regulations which were extended to cover all tenancies (new and existing) in England to ensure that electrical installations remain safe. Building owners and landlords must comply with all relevant legislation and do everything possible to keep their tenants safe from fire, but it’s also important that they help the tenants themselves understand their role in staying safe from fire.

In all settings, it is of course also essential to have appropriate fire detection and firefighting equipment in place, such as smoke alarms and sprinklers. Along with a robust plan for safe evacuation – including emergency evacuation routes and strategies, these features should make it possible to minimise the impact of an electrical fire.

At Compliance Group we are specialists in all aspects of electrical safety, inspection and testing.

Our electrical division provides a comprehensive range of services, including portable appliance testing (PAT), fixed wire testing (EICR), thermographic imaging, electrical maintenance, repairs and installation, emergency lighting, high voltage servicing and maintenance and lightning protection.

We can provide our full suite of services across the entire UK, giving our clients confidence that almost any eventuality is covered. Our high quality, reliable and consistent electrical safety, inspection and testing services are confirmed by our high client retention. Please contact our expert team today at to discuss how we can support your electrical safety, inspection and testing requirements.

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