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How many electrical items are around you in your workplace? Go on, take a moment to have a look. You might be surprised at just how many different objects which you use in an average day are reliant on electricity. For example, if you work in an office, you probably have your computer and monitor. But then there is the printer, the laminator, perhaps one or more desk lamps. You might have a telephone or tablet charging whilst you work. Then there is the fridge, the kettle and the microwave – the list could go on and on. If you work in a workshop or other industrial setting, the number of electrical items could be even more. In fact, most of us would struggle to do our work without electricity.

But then ask yourself when the last time was that you had workplace electrical maintenance. You might be shocked to realise that you cannot remember when it last happened. Many workplaces are long overdue for having basic testing and inspections, like PAT (portable appliance testing) checks. Even though not all companies are diligent at keeping on top of this requirement, electrical safety at work should be a priority for managers and business owners. So how do you know that your workplace needs electrical maintenance?

The most obvious way is to look at the electrical inspection labels. Although you should have some sort of central record of past maintenance and checks, when electrical maintenance is carried out on items like kettles, drills and computers, each unit should be labelled to confirm that it is safe to use. The labels take a range of forms. The simplest is a sticker which identifies the test date and the name of the qualified tester. More complex designs are also available. For example, stickers can be larger size, or they could have a company logo. They could also be a wrap design, which is for wrapping around a cable. There are a wide range available, depending on the item being tested. But regardless of the design, they all state the date of testing. That makes it easy to decide whether your maintenance is due. Of course, if there are no labels and no records then it is definitely due!

There is no set frequency for testing, but once you know the date of the last check, you can decide when it should be done. The law for the workplace simply requires that managers ensure that the testing and maintenance is sufficiently regular to prevent accidents. Equipment that is used or moved more frequently, like hand tools, or that is used by the public, needs to be tested more often than equipment that is rarely moved, like a printer.

Of course, the labels are not the only way to know that you need maintenance. Keep an eye on the condition of electrical appliances in your workplace. For example, damaged or exposed cables should always be replaced. Similarly, if you think that you can smell burning near a piece of equipment, or there is a sign of blackening or excess heat around the cable or casing, it is time to get it checked and repaired or replaced. The important thing is to be alert and remember than electrical maintenance in the workplace is important.

For electrical safety labels, visit PAT Labels Online where you can find a wide range of options.

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