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Electrical Safety

Electrical Safety


Electricity kills and injures people in the workplace – and not just in high risk environments.

The HSE deal with around 1000 electrical accidents at work annually and poor electric safety causes approximately 25 deaths a year.

Electrical Health and Safety – The Common issues

  • Poor maintenance of electrical equipment
  • Exposure to mains electricity supplies (230 volt)
  • Overhead power line work
  • Underground power cable contact during excavation work
  • Incorrect use of electrical equipment in potentially explosive areas

Poor electrical installations and faulty electric appliances are often the root cause for:

  • Fires in the workplace – adding to the workplace injury and fatality count.
  • Electrical Health and Safety Legislation – What are employers responsible for?
  • Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

The main purpose of the regulations is to prevent death or personal injury from electricity in the workplace. Employers have a legal duty to ensure all electrical systems (including electrical equipment) are maintained in good condition.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 Act

This places a duty on employers to ensure that work equipment is suitable for the purpose for which it is used and that work equipment is maintained in good working order.

Also the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) 1999 require employers to carry out activity-based risk assessments.


Users should visually check that electrical equipment is in good condition before using it. These checks should include the following:

  • Has the equipment been PAT tested and is this test up-to-date?
  • Is there any damage to the cable?
  • Is the plug damaged or are the plug pins bent?
  • Is the cable exterior sheath effectively secured where it enters the plug?
  • Are there signs of overheating such as burn marks or discoloration?
  • Does the appliance work and switch on/off properly?
  • If the coloured insulation of the internal cables are showing, the equipment must not be used

These electrical health and safety checks also apply to extension leads and sockets. It is also very important that extension leads/gangs are not overloaded



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