What is Fixed Wire Testing and how does it affect my business?

Electrical Fixed Wire Testing is a process that inspects and assesses a company’s electrical installation. Sometimes referred to as Hard Wire Testing or Periodic Inspection, the purpose is to ensure the safe supply and use of electricity throughout a business, and that the electrical installation complies with Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

What does Fixed Wire Testing cover?

A Fixed Wire Test, or Periodic Inspection, is designed to assess the condition of an existing electrical installation and identify deficiencies. This includes all of the equipment required to distribute electrical power safely from its source to the areas it is needed to power equipment. The list of components could include:

  • Hard wiring and connections
  • Distribution boards and switchboards
  • Fuses, circuit breakers and RCDs
  • Lighting socket outlets
  • Air conditioning
  • Fixed plant

What will a Fixed Wire Test provide?

The primary purpose of a Fixed Wire Test is to check the istallation meets National Safety Standards for electrical installations, and to ensure that those who operate electrically powered equipment or machinery at work are protected. Specifically that means controlling risks such as:

  • Overloads on electrical circuits or equipment
  • Electric shock and fire hazards from installation faults
  • Defective DIY electrical work
  • Lack of earthing or bonding

What legislation covers Fixed Wire Testing?

Employers are responsible for the health and safety of its people, and failure to protect them is a criminal offence.

Electrical safety and regulations governing fixed wiring is covered by the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAW), and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is clear that fixed wiring must be maintained in the workplace to prevent danger.

How can I maximise electrical safety with fixed wiring?

As a basic process, fixed wire testing can be a relatively quick visual check of the electrical installation, from source to outlet. Nevertheless, scope can be broadened to provide additional measures that may protect a business and its workforce from the potential hazards of a non-compliant installation. Scope can be set to include:

  • Appraisal and risk assessment
  • Survey and system test (earthing, polarity & layout)
  • Review of documentation
  • Visual check of accessible components
  • Labelling and circuit identification
  • Functions testing of components
  • Thermographic testing for defects or hot spots
  • Reporting, test results and action summary

How frequently a fixed wire electrical installation be checked?

Whilst maintenance of fixed wire electrical installations is a statutory requirement, the scope and frequency of maintenance is for individual interpretation, based on risk.

The frequency of inspections and the scheduling of Fixed Wire Testing should be managed by the ‘dutyholder’ within your organisation. Risk will vary enormously from company to company, and your general risk assessment should cover electrical safety, taking into consideration the working environment, the age of the installation and overall electrical usage.

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Should equipment be labelled to show it has been tested?

As part of a well managed maintenance programme, fixed wire components should be labelled, clearly identifying unique circuits. Evidence of faults or problems, together with remedial actions need to be reported. This process will help your organisation to maintain high standards of electrical safety with respect to all of its Fixed Wire Testing requirements.

If you would like help with your Periodic Inspections or Fixed Wire Testing requirements, talk to P&R Safety Testing. We can provide all the advice you need to keep your working environment safe.

Call 0800 055 6559 today for more information or to request a no-obligation quote.