With many businesses now settled into a hybrid working structure, employers are being reminded of their legal obligation to ensure electrical equipment is safe even when being used by workers at home.
Dan Lee, Managing Director of phs Compliance, one of the UK’s leading providers of facilities management and compliance services, says that many businesses are not ensuring compliance of employees’ home offices alongside equipment in the main office.
He said: “It’s fairly standard now across many sectors for employees to be spending some of the working week in the office and some at home, but your responsibilities for health and safety don’t end when employees leave the site.
“Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, employers are responsible for the health, safety and well-being of all employees, whether they work on site or remotely. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 also state that all electrical equipment in the workplace must be suitable for use and maintained to ensure it is safe, including any equipment used at home to carry out their job.
“It’s a difficult situation for businesses. They are still liable if employees injure themselves at home, but mitigating the risks remotely is more challenging. Employees may not understand the risks that electrical equipment like laptops, printers and extension leads can pose, and dangerous practices, like overloading sockets or leaving laptops charging on sofas, can be commonplace.
“All users of electrical equipment should have some basic training in how to use the equipment safely, as well as what danger signs to be aware of. Users should feel confident in visually checking the equipment regularly for obvious signs of damage, as well as potential risks, such as cables trapped under desks or water hazards.
“However, the best way to protect your employees, and demonstrate your compliance with legislation, is to carry out regular PAT testing on all electrical equipment, whether on site or used remotely.
“PAT testing (Portable Appliance Testing) involves an examination of portable electrical equipment and appliances to ensure they are safe to use. This should be carried out by a competent person with the correct training and equipment. It is strongly recommended to employ an experienced and qualified PAT tester to test equipment every year.
A great opportunity is for colleagues to bring their equipment back into the office for testing when there is a staff meeting, as several pieces of equipment can be tested in one session to save costs.
“If you are unsure how to meet your health and safety obligations for electrical testing, phs Compliance can help with advice, guidance and over 400 experienced and trained engineers across the UK ready to start testing wherever you are.”
Click to view phs Compliance’s free PAT Testing Guide.
With over 50 years’ experience, phs Compliance is one of the UK’s leading providers of facilities management and compliance services. As well as electrical, mechanical and fire safety testing and maintenance services, phs Compliance also provides specialist electrical and mechanical project services, including design, supply and installation for everything from power to lighting.