Electrical safety—essential requirements

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Electrical safety—essential requirements
  • What are the hazards?
  • Electricity and the law
  • Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
  • The essential requirements
  • 1. Risk assessment
  • 2. Maintain equipment
  • 3. Work safely
  • 4. Protection from electric shock
  • 5. Means for cutting off the supply
  • More...

Electrical safety—essential requirements

What are the hazards?

Around 1000 electrical accidents are reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) every year and 25 people die of their injuries.

The main hazards are:

  1. contact with live parts causing shocks and burns. Normal mains voltage (230 volts) can kill, however most deaths are caused by contact with underground power cables and overhead power lines. Non fatal shocks can often lead to other injuries such as falling from ladders and scaffolding.

  2. fires and explosions caused by poor electrical installations and faulty electrical equipment.

Electrical safety is an important consideration in health & safety due diligence. Electrical faults can cause property damage, personal injury and result in capital expenditure requirements. See Practice Note: Health and safety due diligence—manufacturing business.

Electricity and the law

There are several regulations that cover electrical safety including:

  1. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, SI 1989/635

  2. The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008, SI 2008/1597

  3. Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016, SI 2016/1101. See Practice Note: Electrical equipment safety

  4. The Plugs and Sockets etc (Safety) Regulations 1994, SI 1994/1768

  5. The Offshore Electrical and Noise Regulations 1997, SI 1997/1993

  6. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, SI 1998/2306. See Practice Note: Accidents caused by work equipment

  7. The Building Regulations 2010, SI 2010/2214

  8. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013, SI 2013/1471. See Practice Note: Reporting of Injuries, Diseases

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