Fixed wire inspections or tests are designed to make sure that all the wiring in your business premises conforms to current standards and is fit for purpose. The inspection includes areas such as the hard wiring of the building, lighting, plug sockets and distribution boards. The process involves a range of visual and electrical tests after which a report is completed outlining compliance and any problems.
The team carrying out the inspection will look for issues such as wear and deterioration, breakages, loose fixings and missing parts. There may well be some disruption to the general operation of your business with the electricity being disconnected to carry out the tests.
What Happens After A Fixed Wire Inspection and There Are Defects
Once the inspection has been completed by the survey team, you will be given an EICR or Electrical Installation Condition Report. This will outline the extent of the inspection and where you are compliant. It will note also, whether there are any defects that need to be addressed.
How often you have a fixed wire inspection will depend largely on the type of business you operate. If you run an office, for example, the general rule is that you should have testing carried out every 5 years. If you run an industrial business, however, you should be looking to inspect at least every 3 years.
Fixed Wire Inspections and Observation Codes
Once you receive your report, the important information is going to concern whether you are non-compliant in some way and how this is needs to be addressed. Problems are highlighted by a series of observation codes:
- C1: This means that there is an urgent problem with your fixed wiring that is likely to cause injury or damage and which needs to be rectified immediately. This could happen, for example, if you have live wires on show or damaged equipment on your premises.
- C2: This is a step down from C1 but still requires urgent attention. The action does not have to be carried out immediately as there is no immediate threat to personal safety but does need to be resolved. It can include wiring with the wrong insulation levels, or having the wrong housings for connections.
- C3: This is less urgent but again still needs to be addressed. It can include not having the right warning notices on show, no diagrams or charts available and markings that are incorrect on fixtures.
- F1: This observation code applies to anything within your fixed wire system that requires further investigation as a matter of urgency. This can happen, for example, if your electricity supply doesn’t match the norms for your industry.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 means that employers and business owners have a legal obligation to have their fixed wire inspected at regular intervals. If a fault is identified, they also have a duty to make sure that the problem is repaired. In the case of a C1 observation, this needs to be completed without any further delay. Failure to do so can not only put employees and visitors at risk but also open you up to prosecution on health and safety grounds.
Until next time… Stay safe!