What is Emergency Light Testing and how does regulation affect my business?

If you are the ‘owner’ or ‘person who has control’ of a business premises or a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) you are responsible for providing a safe escape from the building in the event of an emergency or mains power failure, for those who work, visit or live there.

This duty of care includes the provision of emergency lighting, and the system’s compliance with the regulations; the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

What is the purpose of Emergency Lighting Testing?

The design of any emergency lighting system should fulfil two functions. First, it should direct personnel to an appropriate exit, and second, illuminate areas where visibility is likely be poor in an emergency situation, for example a stairwell in the event of power failure. Only by testing this process regularly can you ensure it complies with the regulations.

Therefore, emergency lighting systems must be tested and inspected on a regular basis, and in accordance with BS 5266, and an Emergency Lighting Test Certificate issued.

How often should emergency lights be tested?

For emergency lighting systems with a central back-up battery system, a daily visual inspection of the power supply indicators is all that is required.

All emergency lighting systems, however, must be tested monthly, and for a short period of simulated failure that is sufficient for the purpose of the test. All luminaires should be checked that they are clean and clearly visible, that they function correctly in terms of lighting levels, duration of operation, and their correct positioning for power-loss situations.

In addition to monthly tests, an annual emergency lighting inspection should also be carried out, and the duration of the test for simulated failure can be 1 or 3 hrs, depending on the system. Following the test, normal power is restored and checks are made to ensure the charging function is working correctly.

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The benefit of keeping emergency lighting test records

Keeping an up-to-date record of the management and testing of your emergency lighting system is important in maintaining a compliant system, and it may be referred to by an authorised person.

An Emergency Lighting Log Book is a highly important document for a business that not only needs to demonstrate compliance with regulations, but may need to rely on it when facing a legal challenge after a real emergency. Information recorded will include:

  • Dates of each periodic inspection
  • Test details, results and certification dates
  • Defects or system errors
  • Remedial work resulting from fault identification
  • Alterations made to the emergency lighting system

What qualifications are required for emergency lighting testing?

Daily checks can be carried out by a staff member who is familiar with the system’s indicator lamp function.

Monthly and annual tests need to be done by a competent person, who has sufficient training and experience to carry out testing. This may be a self appointed role from within an organisation, or an external company, with industry trained and accredited engineers. It all depends on what emergency lighting system is in place, and what business you are in.

If you would like help with your Emergency Lighting Testing requirements, or if you are due for an annual inspection, talk to P&R Safety Testing. Call today to book an appointment, and ask for a quotation.

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