Excessive electrical safety testing draws criticism from the HSE

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A recent Health & Safety Executive (HSE) press release has criticised electrical contractors for excessive and unnecessary electrical safety tests for office-based businesses, believed to cost an estimated £30 million annually.

The HSE suggests that misleading advice and advertising is contributing to businesses – including shops, offices and hotels – paying unnecessarily for electrical maintenance.

HSE Chair Judith Hackitt, speaking on the HSE’s revised guidance on portable appliance testing (PAT), said: “We know that low-risk companies are being misled over what the law requires when it comes to maintaining portable electrical appliances, and many are paying for testing that is not needed. Businesses are responsible for protecting their employees, but they shouldn’t be wasting their money on unnecessary checks that have no real benefit. HSE has always advocated a proportionate, risk-based approach to maintenance. This new guidance is simple and clear to follow.”

The Director of General Insurance at the Association of British Insurers, Nick Starling, said: “Insurers have never required policyholders to undertake unnecessary portable electrical appliance tests which are not proportionate to the risk. We welcome HSE’s guidance, which will help businesses focus on what they do best, free from worries about health and safety myths.”

PB Ross managing director, Pete Ross, stated: “In any industry you will always find some people who try to exploit unwitting customers for their own benefit. This does a disservice to electricians and electrical contractors everywhere, and could lead to occurrences of electrical equipment not being tested when it should be. Customers should not be afraid to get a second opinion if they feel any confusion regarding PAT. As a midlands electrical contractor of over twenty years standing my integrity and strict adherence to industry guidelines and legislation has contributed to my reputation for honest, appropriate domestic, commercial, industrial and hazardous area electrical solutions.”


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