How many accidental electrical fires occur annually?
According to the Department for Communities and Local Government there are approximately 20,000 accidental electrical fires per year. That’s a staggering number. What’s even more concerning is that these lead to around 50 deaths and 3,500 injuries – figures which could potentially be reduced by good electrical safety management.
As a commercial landlord, you have a duty of care to ensure the safety standards of your properties are maintained.
To be clear, there is no current legal requirement for you to provide a safety certificate to your tenants, however the Electrical Safety Council recommends that all fixed electrical installations be inspected at least every 5 years. An inspection should also be carried out if there is a change in tenancy.
This inspection must be undertaken by professional and competent individuals who can provide you with risk assessments and method statements. Once complete they should also provide a certificate which states that your property is ‘electrically safe’.
Whilst legally, as a commercial landlord, you do not currently have to ensure these inspections are done, it is worth noting that the insurance industry generally require satisfactory electrical inspection arrangements as a condition of cover. It may be prudent to check your insurance documents to see if such a condition applies.
In respect of the lease, sometimes it may not be clear whose responsibility it is to keep electrical inspections up to date and hence they can sometimes be missed. It is imperative, therefore, that any lease you draw up clearly states your obligation as a landlord regarding electrical safety as well as the obligations of your tenants.
If you provide any Portable Electrical Equipment there is a separate set of recommendations from the Health and Safety Executive – see table below.
Class 1 items are those with a combination of insulation and mains earth.
Class 2 items have a dual layer of insulation with no need for earth.
|Type of Premises||Class 1 Equipment||Class 2 Equipment||Portable Equipment|
|Offices, Shops and Hotels||48 months||24 months||12 months|
|Schools||12 months||28 months|
|Public Use Equipment||6 months||12 months||12 months|
|Construction||110 v All = 3 months||110 v All = 3 months||110 v All = 3 months|
|Industrial||12 months||12 months||6 months|
Again, all Portable Appliance Testing must be carried out by a competent person.
Good electrical inspection procedures ensure compliance with your duty of care and can also help protect you against charges of negligence.
Ultimately, though, it saves lives.
Additional Reading: HSE Electrical Safety