electric shock

Avoiding statutory electrical shocks

This begs the question – how can you comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations if you don’t maintain and test your electrical installations properly?

In fact, it goes beyond properly – you may also need to demonstrate to a court of law that you have fully met your obligations under this legislation, should the need arise.

Regulation 4

Regulation 4 removes some of the statutory compliance ambiguity. It states:

“All systems, shall at all times, be of such construction and shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, danger.”

Shocks to the system

During its inspections, The Health & Safety Executive regularly uncovers significant failures of employers and building owners to keep their electrical installations in safe condition so as to prevent “danger”.

One such case resulted in prosecution, a £10,000 fine and ordered to pay £5930 in costs. Whilst painful for the business’s finances, the real risk was to employees and site visitors from:

  • Live 400-volt cabling hanging off the wall
  • A broken socket with live 400-volt cabling coiled on the floor
  • Fused spurs and electric switches hanging off single-core cabling, leaving the live 230-volt wiring inside exposed
  • Guards missing from a plastic forming machine, exposing heating elements that could have created a dangerous hazard when the machine was switched on

You can read more about this shocking case online.


Whilst not every aspect of testing and maintaining mechanical and electrical engineering systems in a building may be a statutory requirement, it is an essential part of ensuring that you comply with all other aspects that are statutory. A robust system of planning and record keeping is always advisable.