As more workplaces start to fully reopen and welcome back employees, phs Compliance has warned of the hidden safety risks that may be waiting for the return.
The leading provider of facilities management and compliance services says non-compliant electrical items, Legionnaires’ disease and new fire risks present the greatest dangers for businesses reopening.
Dan Lee, Managing Director of phs Compliance, said: “Many business premises will have remained closed, or only partially used, for over a year, and that is a long time for electrical equipment to go unchecked, posing a potential risk once they start being used again.
“By law, electrical equipment in the workplace must be suitable for use and maintained to ensure it is safe. That is the legal obligation that every workplace has, no matter what the business, and it applies to any electrical item from kettles and fridges, to computers, machinery and electrical installations. Unfortunately, the pandemic has meant that some businesses haven’t been carrying out regular fixed wire or PAT testing, which is recommended to ensure their equipment is safe to use.
“Even if an electrical item isn’t being used or is switched off, it doesn’t mean it is as safe to use as it was the last time. Over time, cables, wires and fuses can deteriorate and there could be unseen damage caused by an external source such a water leak. Dust can also play havoc with electrical items causing damage, overheating and fires once they are in use again.
“To ensure the equipment is safe, and to reduce any risk, it is advisable to carry out a fixed wire test or PAT test on all electrical items.
“PAT testing applies to portable electrical equipment with plugs, such as kettles, drills, laptops and computers, and fixed wire testing is used to test fixed electrical installations which are powered through an electricity meter, such as lighting, heating and fire alarm systems.
“Workplaces will also need a new fire risk assessment, especially if desks have moved or the workplace layout has changed to allow for social distancing.
“Water is another concern. Harmful levels of the bacteria Legionella can build-up quickly in water systems that are left unused and unmanaged, even for a short period. Anyone who inhales tiny droplets of water containing the bacteria – for example, from air-conditioning units – may develop Legionnaires’ disease.
“It is always advisable to seek professional and expert services when it comes to ensuring your health and safety compliance. phs Compliance’s experienced team offer full electrical testing, fire risk assessments and water treatment and Legionella control services, ensuring workplaces can safely reopen – and stay open.”
With over 50 years’ experience, phs Compliance is one of the UK’s leading providers of facilities management and compliance services with over 400 engineers across the UK. 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 and lighting to electric vehicle charging points.
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