Are you invalidating your insurance?
Businesses that fail to carry out regular electrical safety tests on workplace equipment could find they are without insurance in the event of a fire or other disaster.
According to electrical safety company Epsilon Test Services - which spoke to a number of leading insurers about the requirements on business owners in this area - many companies are ignoring their obligations under The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
"One insurer I spoke to likened electrical safety compliance to a vehicle MOT," said Mark Blanchfield, managing director of Epsilon.
"Like an MOT certificate, it might not be necessary to prove your legal compliance at the time you take out your insurance policy, but you better be able to produce the records to prove your electrical diligence if you ever need to claim. And, just like an MOT, electrical inspection records can't be manufactured once the accident has happened."
According to Eddie Jones, technical manager for risk control at Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA), in the event of a claim the loss adjuster will usually ask for a copy of a recent survey of the premises from the insured.
Where this isn't available they may wish to examine electrical inspection records to ensure a regular and systematic maintenance regime is in place in line with legislative requirements.
Norwich Union, meanwhile, points out that electricity is the second largest cause of fires in commercial and industrial premises in the UK and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that "many deaths and injuries arise from use of poorly maintained electrical equipment".
There are around 1,000 accidents at work involving electric shock or burns reported every year, and around 30 of these are fatal, according to the HSE.
"In the course of testing portable appliances and fixed installations we see plenty of disasters waiting to happen - some truly terrifying - but at least those sites have been tested and remedial work now done," says Blanchfield.
"What is much more worrying is the number of organisations that haven't been properly checked and that are failing to comply with safety legislation. Those organisations are putting a great deal at risk and one of the factors in danger is their insurance."
Companies concerned they may be invalidating their insurance by not having up-to-date electrical safety tests should contact their insurer and establish exactly what their statutory obligations are.
A typical insurance policy condition requires the policyholder to "take all reasonable precautions to prevent or diminish loss, destruction or damage occurrence or cease any activity which may give rise to liability", adds Epsilon.
Post Date: September 3rd, 2008