Since the introduction of the Health & Safety in Employment Act 1992, employers are required by law to identify and manage potential risks at the workplace, whether this be an office, warehouse or commercial premises. To do this, they must arrange to have regular compliance testing carried out by a qualified individual to verify whether their buildings fixtures, services and machinery are suitably working as normal and expected.
Many business owners, landlords and even tenants of commercial premises are simply unaware of their responsibilities surrounding compliance and ensuring safety at the workplace, yet this law has been in place in the United Kingdom for quite some time.
Compliance testing is important for one simple reason – safety at work. With employees now being expected to carry out a multitude of tasks in various industries, those demands mean that employees have to use a variety of different equipment that could realistically pose danger if not maintained to a high standard. Compliance testing is designed to effectively eliminate or at least, minimise the risks associated with use of such machinery.
What tests are typically carried out?
Compliance tests span a variety of different types of equipment and machinery and naturally, do not always apply to each and every type of business.
In most cases however, there are a number of common compliance tests that will apply to all businesses such as the following:
5 Yearly Fixed Electrical Wire
Practically every business relies on power so it is essential to ensure the power supply and the systems in place are running safely, whether this be the consumer units and main panels, lighting, power sockets, distribution boards and the quality and age of the electrical wiring in place. Poor quality wiring can lead to fires and potentially execution so its vital to ensure the power supply is fit for purpose.
In the event of a power outage or fire, emergency lighting is critical to ensuring people can exit the premises safely and quickly via designated escape routes and emergency exits. Business owners should be aware of this legislation considering it has been an integral part of the Health & Safety at Work Act since 1974, so testing these systems to ensure they work in the event of a fire or power cut is crucial.
In relation to the above, if a fire breaks out at work, the alarm systems must be fully operational to ensure the alarm can be triggered to give everyone in the building a clear signal that their safety is in danger. It is very common for a fire alarm systems batteries to deteriorate over time as well as their mechanisms so regular testing and maintenance will ensure they are there if and when needed.
Fire Extinguishers & Sprinkler Systems
As well as sounding the alarm and alerting people to a fire, sprinklers and extinguishers are essential ways of controlling a fire or preventing it from spreading. To conform to the British Standard BS9251, all fire sprinkler systems and extinguishers should be checked, tested and maintained at regular intervals. One small oversight could lead to poor operation which could cost lives.
The above four are just four typical examples of items that require regular compliance testing. Other items that many businesses may need regular scheduled maintenance of are Water Treatment (Chlorination Levels and Hygiene), Lift Servicing, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) Systems and TMV plumbing.
All are known to develop issues if left ignored and neglected for long periods. Preplanned maintenance schedules using the services of a managed facilities support company is a sound and sensible way to prevent such potential disasters form occurring. it will ensure ensure your business stays in compliance and within the framework of the law.
What happens if you are out of compliance?
The most common way companies are found to be out of compliance is sadly when an accident has occurred with an employee on site. If a serious accident occurs, it must be reported to the HSE (Health & Safety Executive), who will ultimately cary out an investigation into the incident to ascertain what occurred and why.
Should their findings conclude that the business in question was deemed to be out of compliance, a fine or even prosecution could be the end result.
So if you are in any doubt about the laws that may or may not govern compliance that may affect your business, check the table below to see the laws that are applicable to compliance at commercial premises.
|Gas Boilers||Regular Servicing, ‘Gas Safe’ Inspection,|
Provision of Gas Safety Certificate
|Electrical Systems||Fixed Wire Inspection & Testing||5 yearly or 20% per year||NECEIC Regulations|
Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
Replace Bulbs & Batteries
|Monthly Flick Test,|
6 Monthly 1 hour Test,
Annual Discharge Test – 3 hours
|Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005|
|Fire Alarms||Regular Maintenance,|
Testing of Call Points and Sounders,
Testing of Detectors
|Weekly Alarm Test,|
Annual Detector Test
|Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005|
|Fire Extinguishers||Servicing and inspection||Annual||Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005|
|Fire Doors||Maintenance and inspection||Annual||Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005|
|Lighting Protection||Inspection||Annual||Electricity at Work Regulations 1989|
|Lifts||Servicing, Insurance Inspection||6 months||Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998|
|PAT Testing||Visual Inspection,|
Formal PAT test
|Annual – three yearly dependent on risk||Electricity at Work Regulations 1989|
|Water Hygiene||Disinfection, Flushing,|
Microbiological Testing Review
|Weekly Flushing Low Use Outlets,|
Monthly Temperature Checks,
Quarterly Microbiological Sampling,
Disinfection as Required
|Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002|
|Fire Risk Assessment||Inspection / Review||Annual||Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005|