Workplace Safety: Staying in the Green

by Laurence Kellett in Workplace Safety | posted:

Emergency Exit

Safety in the workplace is a very important; yet not often mentioned topic. Whilst all employees are required to read a health and safety sheet and agree to comply by all rules, it is a constant mission for the employer.

In 2012, 26.4 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury

Can your business afford to take a back seat on Health and safety?


Ensuring your business is safe

There are many things you can do to ensure that your business is safe and compliant, but there are certain precautions that legally need to be upheld and maintained.

  • PAT Testing
  • Fixed Wire Testing
  • Fixed Alarm Testing
  • Emergency Lighting & Testing
  • Fire Extinguishers and Testing


PAT Testing

PAT Testing (Portable Appliance Testing) is the process of testing all electrical appliances both visually and manually to determine if they are fit to use. It ensures the safety of your employees using electrical equipment in your workplace.

  • Kettles
  • Printers
  • Hand held equipment
  • Cookers
  • Extension leads
  • Computers


And now for the important part…

The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) requires that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause harm must be maintained in a safe condition. However, it’s not specified how this should be done, or how often it should be done. The frequency of checks for your electrical equipment depends entirely upon the type of electrical device.

HSE Guidelines do state that PAT Testing is not a legal requirement. However, you must do the minimum possible to ensure a safe facility for staff and members of the public. Many insurance policies however require proof of PAT testing in the event of an emergency, such as a fire, before paying out.


Fixed Wire Testing

Fixed Wire Testing, which tests your electrical distribution system, can help prevent any staff getting seriously injured through sockets, light fittings and other wiring accessories.

To the standard business owner, it’s usually only visually possible to gage that a plug socket either works, or doesn’t work. It requires a professional tester to judge the safety of fixed wires and connections. Getting someone into verify that your fixed wires are safe will put your mind at rest and show that you’re big on the safety of your staff and visitors.


Fire Alarms & Testing

Fire alarms are vital to protecting staff in both large and small premises. Alerting the occupants of a fire, before it can be seen, heard or smelt can be a lifesaver but obviously only if the alarm works. Health & Safety Legislation states that a fire alarm should be in full working order and other than starting a fire, the best way to do this is to test them. Be it weekly, monthly, or every 6 months.

Many modern offices perform a building-wide fire alarm test once a week – this may be something you will consider to roll out in your own business?


Emergency Lighting & Testing

Emergency lighting often goes unnoticed, but when it matters it needs to be in full working order. Regularly testing your emergency lighting will ensure that it won’t let you down when you really need it.

Sometimes testing your safety equipment requires more than just looking to see if it is still switched on, which is why it is important to get in a professional to check for you.


Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers, which are the prank format of choice for stag dos, are an important asset to any office or workplace – They act as a primary fire prevention for small scale outbursts and can be the difference between saving the office from a blaze and staring at a charred shell.

Regularly testing your extinguishers will put you at ease if the time to use them ever does come around, knowing that they work.


Finally… take the easy route

With regards to managing your health and safety workload, it’s important to stay on top of it. We suggest putting someone in charge of the building’s health and safety management to be the go-to office representative.

Also consider hiring a company who can create a schedule throughout the year to check and service your safety equipment which will save you time and money – instead of having to remember and call up an independent tester every 3 months/year.