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Introduced in April 1990, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 comes under the Health & Safety Act 1974.These regulations place a statutory obligation on all organisations to prevent danger from Electricity;
“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so far as reasonably practicable such danger”The duty holder of a company must ensure that regular monitoring of maintenance takes place to minimise danger and the law states;
“record of maintenance, including test results, preferably kept throughout the working life of an electrical system will enable the condition of the equipment and effectiveness of maintenance policies to be monitored. Without effective monitoring the Duty Holder cannot be certain the requirements of maintenance has been complied with”So what does this law mean to the employee?
It means that you are entitled to a working environment safe from electrical danger.
But this can only happen if the Duty Holder adheres to the law.
Is your present documentation of your electrical systems, enough to prove that you have done all that is reasonably practicable to prevent danger, in a court of law?If is not duty holders can be faced with prosecution in an event of an incident. Without detailed records it would be difficult for a duty holder to prove they have done all that is reasonably practicable to prevent danger.
In the case of prosecution, unlike criminal law, you are guilty until you are able to prove yourself innocent.How can Duty Holder gain advice on how to better their current practices?
The best advice is to consult an electrical testing company, usually their advice is free and can often offer a free of charge survey in order to provide costs for the work, if you so require.Doncaster Council
There have been many cases where companies have been prosecuted, but the one that stands out in my mind, is the case I heard about a couple of years ago, where a judge fined Doncaster council £400,000 after a man was electrocuted in one of their buildings, after trying to fix a faulty air conditioning unit.The council pleaded guilty to failing to ensure both the safety of its own employees and other people.
What are my thoughts on this law?I am pleased that the employee is finally being looked after. Employees have the right to feel safe in their working conditions. I myself checked out that our testing has been done and feel safer in this knowledge.
The only problem I see is that companies actually enforcing this law on their sites. Testing costs money, but not doing it costs lives.
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