Health and safety items are often overlooked and considered irrelevant until an incident occurs, but it is crucial to prioritise them. A well-known saying goes, “If you’re complaining about the price of safety, try having an accident and see how much that costs!”
Unfortunately, health and safety measures in organisations and homes are often seen as burdensome, and people are reluctant to invest in them. Even when they do, they often expect unrealistic prices for the services, failing to understand their relevance until something goes wrong.
Many individuals are unaware that, in their domestic properties, they are required by their insurance policies to maintain the building according to current British Standards (BS) and building regulations.
This means having up-to-date electrical and gas certificates, along with other things, not just obtaining them at the cheapest price but also rectifying any issues that are found, to ensure your systems are safe for operation.
Failure to meet these requirements can lead to a situation where, technically, you are not insured, many insurance companies now have this specifically written into the clauses, but they are not easy to find; if an accident occurs and there is no current certificate or if necessary, defects haven’t been rectified. It becomes apparent then how quickly insurance companies find ways to avoid paying out in such cases.
To illustrate the extensive work involved in these areas, let’s delve deeper into each type of inspection:
- Electrical Inspections: Electrical inspections are conducted to evaluate the safety, functionality, and compliance of electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Key points to consider include:
- Importance of Electrical Inspections: a. Ensuring electrical safety and reducing the risk of hazards. b. Identifying faulty wiring, damaged components, or potential fire hazards. c. Complying with national and local electrical codes, including BS 7671, the UK standard for electrical installations. d. Maintaining operational efficiency and preventing electrical failures. e. Facilitating insurance coverage and meeting legal requirements.
- Electrical Inspection Checklist: a. Examination of electrical panels, breakers, and fuses. b. Inspection of wiring, switches, and outlets for damage or wear. c. Assessment of your earthing & bonding systems. d. Verification of proper installation of electrical system e. Testing of safety devices such as RCD’s RCBO, MCB) and Arc Fault Detection Device (AFDDs). f. Evaluation of electrical load capacity and potential overloads.
- Fire Alarm Inspections: Regular fire alarm inspections are crucial for early detection and response to fire hazards. Here’s what you need to know:
- Importance of Fire Alarm Inspections: a. Early detection of fires to minimise damage and ensure prompt evacuation. b. Compliance with fire safety regulations, including BS 5839, the UK code of practice for fire alarm systems. c. Verification of proper operation of fire alarm devices and sensors. d. Maintenance of fire alarm system integrity and reliability.
- Fire Alarm Inspection Process: a. Testing smoke detectors, heat detectors, and fire alarms. b. Checking control panels, Sounders, and communication devices. c. Verifying battery backup systems and power supplies. d. Inspecting manual pull stations and emergency notification systems. e. Reviewing alarm response and monitoring protocols, and so much more and most of this is often not carried out by cheap contractors.
III. Emergency Lighting Inspections: Emergency lighting inspections are vital to ensure safe evacuation during power outages or emergencies. Consider the following aspects:
- Importance of Emergency Lighting Inspections: a. Ensuring safe evacuation routes in case of power failures or emergencies. b. Compliance with emergency lighting regulations, including BS 5266, the UK code of practice for emergency lighting. c. Verification of battery backup systems and charging mechanisms. d. Evaluation of lighting fixtures and signage visibility. e. Testing automatic activation and functional testing of emergency lights.
- Emergency Lighting Inspection Checklist: a. Testing emergency light functionality and duration. b. Verifying battery charging systems and status indicators. c. Inspecting light fixtures, lenses, and bulbs for damage or corrosion. d. Checking signage visibility and legibility. e. Reviewing emergency lighting maintenance records, and so much more most of this is often not carried out by cheap contractors.
- Portable Appliance Testing (PAT): PAT testing ensures the safety of electrical appliances and equipment. Consider the following points:
- Importance of PAT Testing: a. Ensuring the safety of users by identifying faulty or unsafe appliances. b. Compliance with workplace safety regulations and insurance requirements. c. Preventing electrical shocks, fires, and accidents caused by faulty equipment. d. Maintaining a record of inspected appliances for future reference.
- Getting realistic expectations number of appliances that can be done in a day please do not believe the 200, 300, and 500 appliances per day with one man, it cannot be done and many of the good contractors out there will be very happy to tell you that the maximum most men can do in a day if done properly is between 120-150 tests in a day and some days a lot less if you have a lot of equipment to move around before you can get access.
It is essential to highlight that opting for low-cost providers always compromises the quality and thoroughness of inspections, leading to incomplete or inaccurate reports. Engaging reputable and experienced professionals ensures that inspections are conducted properly, and any identified issues are appropriately addressed. Investing in safety is an investment in the well-being of individuals and the protection of your property and the sustainability of your business. Remember, the cost of an accident far outweighs the price of safety.