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Pull the Plug on Unnecessary Electrical Tests

PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued revised guidance on portable appliance testing in an attempt to dispel the myth that every portable electrical appliance in the workplace needs to be tested once a year.

The HSE cautions that misleading advice and advertising, often by companies that offer the testing, is contributing to low-risk businesses such as offices, shops and hotels paying unnecessarily for ‘over-the-top maintenance regimes’.

Whilst regular checking of electrical appliances is part of an effective maintenance regime, the law simply requires employers to ensure that equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger. It does not demand that every item be tested or stipulate how often testing needs to be carried out.

HSE Chair Judith Hackitt said, “We know that low-risk companies are being misled over what the law requires when it comes to maintaining portable electrical appliances, and many are paying for testing that is not needed.

“Businesses are responsible for protecting their employees, but they shouldn’t be wasting their money on unnecessary checks that have no real benefit.”

The HSE guidance, ‘Maintaining portable electric equipment in low-risk environments’, can be found at

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