Any person who lets residential accommodation such as houses, bedsits and flats, as a business activity is required by law to ensure the equipment they have placed in the property as part of the tenancy agreement is safe.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 require that all portable appliances that you supply in the accommodation, including fridges and freezers, microwave ovens, televisions and vacuum cleaners, must be safe. Landlords/letting agents therefore need regularly to maintain the electrical equipment they supply to ensure it is safe.
It is most important that property is checked prior to the commencement of the tenancy, to ensure that all items supplied are in a safe condition. A record should be made of the goods supplied as part of the tenancy agreement and of checks made on those goods. A record of the test carried out should be kept and a certificate issued by a qualified PAT tester showing the date of those tests.
As well as being advisable to have the equipment checked before the start of each letting, we would always recommend that the equipment supplied should be checked at regular intervals thereafter. We can discuss the frequency of this with you at the time of testing.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that a Leeds firm has been fined for safety failings after a trainee technician needed skin grafts after receiving an electric shock while using unsafe testing equipment.
A 22-year-old Bradford man spent five days in hospital with injuries to his arms and chest after the incident. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted Wilson Power Solutions after finding a series of safety failures both in the equipment being used or provided, and in the working practices at the firm.
The court was told the trainee was testing a transformer but the test equipment had exposed conductors at 415 volts. When he touched a connector he received an electric shock. HSE found equipment at a safer low voltage could have been used but it was broken. HSE also identified he had been working inside a test enclosure where the interlocking mechanism had been defeated so power was not cut off when he entered. In addition emergency stop buttons were broken and unusable.
HSE served an enforcement notice on Wilson Power requiring improvements to be made to its safety measures and procedures. The company was fined £6,500, with £647 in costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the case, HSE Inspector Julian Franklin said: "This young trainee was given unsafe, inappropriate and poorly maintained equipment to test an electrical transformer with no training or supervision. The firm failed to ensure that risks from a known hazard were controlled and allowed equipment to fall into disrepair, resulting in a potentially life-threatening incident." More details at:www.press.hse.gov.uk
Fine Imposed on Tool Company
HSE fine for electrical safety breach
A Hertfordshire tool supply company has been told to pay £27,000 for endangering workers after neglecting to maintain electrical systems and equipment.
Watford Magistrates’ Court heard that tools including power hammers and grinding machines, as well as fixed electrical systems, were so poorly maintained that they presented immediate and potentially fatal risks to employees.
The failings were identified by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) during an inspection on 19 November 2009. HSE served four Improvement Notices on the company, including one to improve management arrangements, over an 18 month period.
However, despite two extensions being granted to comply with the terms of the notices, subsequent investigations in 12 Nov 2010 and 7 April 2011 found there were still insufficient arrangements to properly manage risks.
The company was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs after admitting a breach of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and for ignoring the management improvement notice.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Peter Burns said: "It is important that companies recognise and acknowledge the risks posed by poorly maintained electrical systems, which could ultimately result in death – as was the real danger here. The best way to ensure that these and other risks are controlled is to have effective management systems in place.”
Have you considered the safety of your microwave ovens? Please ask us to test for leakage, which can be done at the same time as the appliance testing.