HSE reviews guidance on portable appliance testing

The HSE has issued revised guidance regarding the electrical testing of portable appliances due to concerns that low-risk businesses are paying too much to have them tested yearly. It is thought that unnecessary electrical testing is costing low-risk businesses around thirty million pounds a year.

Although the law does not currently stipulate yearly testing, companies offering the service sometimes encourage businesses to commit to annual testing that is over the top. The law does require businesses to maintain electrical equipment in a state that is safe to use, although the Health and Safety Executive maintains that often a visual check for wear and tear will suffice.

While this will be welcome news for office-based businesses spending too much on such maintenance services, it also highlights a lack of knowledge of the current legislation covering health and safety in the workplace. In this case, it has resulted in over-cautious and unnecessary checks.

Health and safety training offers an opportunity for businesses to understand exactly what their obligations are with regard to their employees’ safety in the workplace, meaning that provisions are adequate without being excessive or costly.