The onus of these regulations is on the employers to assess the work activities which utilise electricity, or which may be affected by it, perhaps by being in the vicinity .
All electrical equipment , systems etc. including connectors such as plugs and sockets must be suitable, properly designed and constructed, installed and sited so as to prevent danger when performing specifies functions. The employer is expected to consider all foreseeable conditions of application - testing, commissioning, operation and maintenance along with the manufacturers equipment rating and electrical loading rates.
whenever possible work on electrical systems should be carried out after the system has been made 'dead'
The fuses used should be at a rating as specified by the manufacturer.
These should be fitted if possible and certainly if the conditions are damp and could give rise to shorting.
Each item of electrical equipment should be examined regularly - regularity depends on the use of the equipment
BASIC INSPECTION - this could be carried out by the trained user.
DETAILED INSPECTION - this should be carried out by a trained person
Electricity is regarded and accepted as a HAZARD - it has the potential to cause harm. It is in the consideration of RISK, the likelihood of harm being caused in circumstances of use, that advice has been given by the Health & Safety Executive in their Guidance Note 236 'Maintaining Portable Electrical Equipment In Offices And Other Low Risk Environments'.
The new guidelines are based on RISK ASSESSMENT and require you to have a PAT Test of equipment at appropriate intervals.
When you purchase a new piece of equipment, it can be expected that the manufacturer has checked the basic electrics of the appliance. However, there are some things that you can check.
List ALL the items of electrical equipment you have on your Golf Course and then check each item as per the following Checklist - this should be carried out at least once a year.:
Date : ........................................
Serial No/ ID: ........................................
The HSE consider that 95% of problems will be found by carrying this out.
In a normal office, a computer is only very infrequently moved. The risk assessment would be that an annual check as above is all that is necessary to maintain its safety. A full electrical PATS (Portable Appliance Test) will only be required every 5 years - most computers are been replaced by that time.
When we look at a kettle in a normal office, this may require to be checked formally as above every six months but informally every time it is used. There is no doubt that using a kettle puts strain on the cable as it is twisted and turned during use. Again a full electrical PATS may be considered after 2 years - most kettles do not last that long in the work environment.
There are a range of suggested frequencies for checking different office equipment. The work can be delegated, with a little instruction, to several people. Remember these persons must be adequately trained and competent to carry the work out - delegating to a person who does not understand the first thing about electricity would not be acceptable. In the event, for a normal size business, it does not take long to check all the equipment and it may be delegation in this instance is not appropriate.
Remember to include in your list ALL electrical appliances in you workplace - kettles, computers, letter openers, shredders, radios, desk lamps, heaters, electric drills, hedgetrimmers, electric saws, extension leads ( indeed any thing that has a electric plug on it) and carry out the above checks on them. Read the guidance note and decide the frequency of formal visual checking and full electrical PATS and mark it in your diary.
Outside, you know the problem appliances you have, e.g. electric compost mixers, and electric pot washers , both of which can be used in wet conditions. These are the things you could seriously consider having checked every year by a competent electrician.
It is suggested that a computer which is installed in a workstation may only require a PAT Test every 3 years. However items in the kitchen should be looked at every year due to their damp environment. Items in a workshop should also be checkled every year due the the cable being extended and rolled frequently.
Many employers find it easier to manage by having all equipment checked annually.
This is not to say that one should get blasé with electricity but only that sensible precautions will control most of the risks. This approach will also allow you to identify the areas of high risk and make arrangements accordingly.
However, remember that every employee has responsibilities too, and each should be given a copy of the following Safe Working Practice and instructed on its use.
The purpose of this guide is to highlight safe working practices for the use of electrical equipment - IT MUST NOT BE TREATED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR TRAINING - Electrical equipment including plugs should only be fitted or opened by competent staff - Qualified Electricians - Head Greenkeeper.
There is a system at the club which ensures all items of electrical equipment are checked on a regular basis. Some damage may occur, however, between checks and it is the responsibility of all staff to check the following items before using any electrical equipment.
|MAINS LEAD||visual inspection||insulation & sheath are intact|
|mains plug||no damage|
|cable clamp gripped to sheath|
|MAINS LEAD CONNECTOR(if mains lead detachable)||visual inspection||no damage or burning|
|attempt to open socket without tool||unopenable|
|attempt to gently pull from female connector||no movement|
|CABLE CLAMP IN EQUIPMENT||inspection of grommet||cable insulation protected|
|gentle pull on cable||no appreciable movement|
|rotation of cable||no rotation|
|MAINS ON/OFF SWITCH||visual inspection||correct operation|
|CONDUCTING &INSULATING CASE||visual inspection||undamaged|
If an item of Electrical equipment fails on any item please call your Head Groundsman/ Greenkeeper immediately.
Finally, would you know what to do if someone received an electrical shock - you should!! - If you don't FIND OUT and tell your staff - it could save a life ( the life they save could be yours!!)
Maintaining Portable Electrical Equipment In Offices And Other Low-Risk Environments