Electrical safety

Electricity is used across the entire institution and can represent a serious hazard if the risk is not managed correctly.  There is an absolute legal requirement for all electrical equipment to be maintained in a safe condition and all units must have suitable arrangements in place to achieve this.

As a general principle, Estates and Buildings is responsible for the mains electrical installation up to mains outlet points and have systems in place to manage this.  Individual management units should report any defects or damage to the mains installation to Estates and Buildings.  Reporting should be by telephone if there is an immediate risk of injury e.g. exposed live parts or via the Works Request system if the defect is less urgent.

Individual management units are responsible for ensuring that the electrical equipment under their ownership or control is kept in a safe condition.  At its most basic this would require a system of periodic visual inspection of all items to identify obvious visual faults and damage.  For low risk items such as computers this may be all that is required.  Note that many faults are easily identifiable without any special electrical skills or qualification by a simple visual inspection (e.g. cable damage, broken plugs) and all staff should be encouraged to regularly visually check items that they use for obvious faults or damage. To minimise the risk of electric shock equipment should be unplugged before handling cables.

Most higher risk equipment will require systems of combined inspection and basic electrical testing (PAT testing - see guidance documents below for further information on this.) Individual Schools and Institutes are responsible for establishing suitable arrangements for this work.

A national Framework Contract is in place for portable appliance testing and can be accessed via the "Unibuy" procurement website (search "portable appliance testing").  A contractor(s) may be selected from those listed in the Framework Contract, following normal University procurement and ordering procedures.

When placing an order it is important to make it explicit that you are ordering under the Framework Contract in order to receive the contracted pricing rates.


SEPS has produced a number of relevant publications to assist:

In-service inspection of electrical equipment (PAT testing)

Step-by-step Guide to Inspection of Electrical Equipment


The following document contains information on the use of portable electrical heaters.

Portable Heaters