The importance of health and safety inspections in all types of properties cannot be underestimated, together with the costs of fines and prison sentences that the health and safety executive can and do handout, most small businesses have many large businesses failed to realise the power of the health and safety executive they can literally walk into your building and shut you down for non-compliance together with all the associated costs and charges they can impose upon you for failure to comply the health and safety at works act 1974 and the electricity at work regulations 1989 both these acts and everything that they pertain or state within our a legal requirement faded to ensure that you carry these out due diligence can have detrimental if not catastrophic effects upon your business
Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) are essential to ensure people and property safety by identifying potential electrical hazards. The regulations require EICR inspections to be conducted periodically, typically every five years, for many types of properties some types of properties are required to be inspected and tested annually or every three years some are 10 years it is dependent on its use. EICRs involve a thorough inspection of electrical installations and wiring and checking for any damage, wear and tear, or non-compliance with current safety standards.
The primary reason for EICR inspections is to detect any potential electrical hazards that could cause injury or death to occupants and damage to property. These inspections help to identify any faulty electrical systems and appliances that may pose a risk of electrocution, fire, or explosion. By conducting regular EICR inspections, property owners can ensure that their electrical installations and appliances are safe and comply with the latest safety regulations.
I would like to stress that this is not a pass certificate, it is very much a snapshot in time of the state of your electrical installation much as a car MOT to ensure it is safe for continued use.
Fire alarm inspection and testing are also critical for health and safety and a legal requirement you can face substantial fines and prison sentences for not carrying these out correctly. Fire alarms are the first line of defence in case of a fire, and regular inspections and testing are necessary to ensure that they are working correctly. These inspections are typically required annually and involve checking the fire alarm system sensors, control panel, and audible/visual alarms. The inspection will also verify that the fire alarm is correctly linked to the emergency lighting system and that the power supply is reliable and sufficient.
Electrical Testing (EET)
Electrical Equipment Testing (EET) inspection and testing is another crucial aspect of electrical safety, safety and a legal requirement you can face substantial fines and prison sentences for not carrying these out correctly. EET inspections are required for all portable and fixed appliances to ensure they are safe to use and do not pose a risk of electrical shock or fire. The inspection involves checking for any defects or damage in the plug, cable, and appliance’s internal components. EET inspections are required at different times depending on the type of equipment and its use some can be as little as three months some can be 2 to 4 years if this is vitally important you sit down with a qualified EET specialist and work out your risk assessments to ensure you are not over testing your appliances thereby saving you substantial money for most businesses and organisations.
Emergency lighting inspection and testing is essential in ensuring that occupants can safely exit a building during an emergency. safety and is also a legal requirement you can face substantial fines and prison sentences for not carrying these out correctly. Emergency lighting provides a reliable light source to guide occupants to the nearest exit in case of a power outage. Regular inspections and testing are necessary to ensure that emergency lighting is working correctly and that the battery backup power supply is sufficient. Emergency lighting inspections are typically required annually.
It is crucial to emphasise the importance of using reputable and qualified contractors to conduct EICR, Fire alarm, EET, and Emergency lighting inspections and testing. Using cheap and unqualified contractors (cowboys) does lead to incomplete inspections, shoddy workmanship, and inadequate safety measures, which can ultimately result in health and safety hazards. Property owners risk facing heavy fines or legal action and prison sentences if they fail to comply with safety regulations, putting lives and property at risk, under English law ignorance of the law is no excuse.
If you’re complaining about the price of safety, try having an accident and see how much that costs… at present, the current charges from the health and safety executive amount to one hundred £163 per hour (as of March 2023) a simple investigation on even a shop can amount to £3,260.00 this is enough to put some shops under, if you start talking about a small business for 2 to 10 people in it this can easily reach tens of thousands for you try to cut corners and pleading ignorance to your health and safety requirements, is no excuse under english LAW.
In conclusion, the legal requirements for EICR inspections and their regulations, along with legal requirements for Fire alarm inspection and testing, EET inspection and testing, and Emergency lighting inspection and testing, are critical for health and safety within your organisation and also to ensure the people/occupants and property safety.
It is vital to use reputable and qualified contractors to conduct these inspections and testing to avoid health and safety hazards and legal consequences.
Make sure you use a time-served competent contractor who can prove the qualifications of the engineers sent out to do the work, thereby giving you peace of mind that this is being done properly.
In the past 3 years, we have saved multiple companies from very large fines by the health and safety executive and advised large companies of their failures with plenty of time to rectify them who have then ignored us the costs are below: –
The example below is a small business with 50 employees’ potential fine by the health and safety executive £48,000 for inconsistencies and non-compliance with EICR, Fire, EET, and Emergency Lighting, using our consultancy services.
Once contacted by the company we organised a meeting with the health and safety executive to find out what they were concerned with before they went into full report mode and addressed these issues inside the company it cost the company £4000 for our services which satisfied the health and safety executive and save them £44,000 worth of fines.
We were called in to look at the standard of EICR reports for a small housing association upon close inspection of the reports we found that over 90% of them had failed even though they said satisfactory!
Many items were not highlighted which were clearly able to be understood by the results in the paperwork.
Those who had certified these reports failed to realise the significance due to inexperience and lack of competency there were many pictures supplied with these reports with clear evidence in the pictures of failures yet not notified within the reports upon further investigation it has become clear that these reports have been let on such a low budget that many of the contractors were doing exactly what they have been asked to do thereby supplying substandard paperwork because the people asking for it were working from the basis of the cheapest price, not competency thereby putting people’s lives at risk.
We have since rectified over 50% of the reports and insured that the works carried out were competently carried out by using our consultancy team to ensure it was done in a safe manner thereby protecting not only the housing association but more importantly the tenants within the properties, there is now a rolling scheme which has been put in place where we are sent a number of reports weekly and also carry out spot checks to ensure that they are being done safely.
The housing association estimated that our involvement has saved them in excess of £750,000 in potential fines, by properly controlling their work and increasing the competency and checks to ensure the work is now being carried out properly.
Another example of a large organisation that deals with the supply of food we informed them of our findings with their emergency lighting within one of their properties. We estimated the cost to repair this and bring it up to satisfactory levels to be no more than £5,000.00 in order to meet the legal requirements, they chose to ignore us a year later the health and safety executive got involved because somebody fell down an escape staircase because the emergency lighting was not working one of the very areas that we highlighted in a report this ended up costing this company £400,000 in fines and a full investigation into their property portfolio with an estimated £18 million worth of work necessary to be carried out in order to bring all their properties up to the current emergency lighting health and safety standards.
Failure to deal with information has cost this company dearly, please bear in mind the health and safety executive can walk into your property on a Monday morning and shut you down immediately they actually have the power to do this until you rectify the problem/s ignorance of the law is no excuse whether you are a small micro SME, SME large national they have the power to close you down for failure to comply.
We were underbid by another company for a price that was half of our cost to carry out proper competent inspections, we received a call from one of the sites that we had lost from the manager at the site pleading for us to talk to the electrician as the fire alarm had been going off 30 minutes.
The electrician on-site didn’t know how to shut down the Fire alarm system (why on earth was an incompetent engineer touching a life safety system) after he set off the break-glass, as he was not a competent fire alarm engineer and did not know how to shut it down properly!
After a little digging, we found out that his boss had told him that all he had to do on a yearly inspection was test one break-glass this is in total contravention of BS 5839-1:2017 the fire alarm regulations for annual tests of a type I system, leving this organisation and customers at risk.
No wonder they were so cheap, they were using incompetent un-trained professionals to carry out work on a life safety system they have since been fined £50,000 just for that branch and the other 2000 properties are under investigation, I believe to date that the cost from the health and safety executive is likely to reach in excess of £1 million for the investigation and all because they wanted to do it cheaply and save money.
There are many organisations that have been fined millions of pounds by the health and safety executive for non-compliance, and dangerous working practices if you work with them and correct the situation, they do consider the situation, and your willingness to rectify the situation, they can also look at your size and take this into consideration, they are not ogres.
But in the event of serious failures butting heads with them which many organisations do ends up in substantial cost to the company and will in all likelihood invalidate your insurance which can cost you tens of millions of pounds together with health and safety executives fines and costs.
Virtually no small business survives this and many major businesses struggle to ensure their health and safety systems are compliant in their entirety and will mitigate as far as reasonably practical the situations and reduce the potential risk of fines and prison sentences, make sure you use competent time served trained companies to carry out this work.
As I said before, If you’re complaining about the price of health and safety, try having an accident and see how much that costs…..