Electrical Inspections - Your Responsibilities
When it comes to electricity we don’t need to explain the dangers facing both volunteers and users of your hall. You need to ensure that your property is safe to use and document your procedures in case of an accident.
There is no timescale specified in your policy for a full electrical inspection to be carried out. However, insurers suggest that electrical systems are inspected and tested at least once every five years to meet your duty of care to the public. This relates to both the wiring and the fixed electrical systems in the hall.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) advises that electrical installations should be tested often enough that there is little chance of deterioration leading to danger. Any part of an installation that has become obviously defective between tests should be de-energised until the fault can be fixed.
You should have your electrical installation inspected and tested by a person who has the competence to do so, such as an approved contractor from one of the following recognised organisations:
Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA)
National Association for Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT)
National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC)
The HSE website is a great resource for all electrical matters and we would direct you to www.hse.gov.uk/electricity which includes advice on your responsibilities as well as answers to frequently asked questions.
You should also ensure that any portable electronic items at your premises are safe to use, this is often done through PAT testing. There are no strict requirements on how often you have to carry out PAT testing, if at all. You simply have to follow any Health and Safety regulations. You do however have a duty to ensure the upkeep of your electronic items and if a claim was made due to poorly maintained equipment then this could affect any payment.
I would advise that this is discussed by the committee and you draw up a procedure for checking electrical items, defining how this will be done and how often. If a claim were made as a result of an electrical shock then insurers would ask for evidence that you had taken all reasonable care in respect of your electrical items. If this is done annually then there is likely to be no problem, however if you have no written procedure in place then you may have an issue defending a claim.