Electrical safety – Coroner suggests statutory safety testing

A coroner has suggested that electrical safety checks for property should be on a similar basis to statutory gas safety checks after a faulty electrical installation in a let house caused the electrocution and death of a mother of two young children.

The fatal accident happened in Cornwall in March 2008 in a house which had been let as a holiday house for a number of years and in which the electrical installation had not been inspected for 27 years.

The Electricity at Work Act 1989 provides the statutory framework for the safety of electrical installations and electrical equipment.  However, the implementation of safety practices is left largely to the industry and there is no statutory frequency for undertaking safety checks although five years is a typical period for residential property.

To help landlords and those involved in property management understand their responsibilities, the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has published a “Landlords’ Guide to Electrical Safety” which sets out a summary of the law relevant to landlords in the private sector.  The guide is supported by the local authority regulatory body, LACORS, and a copy can be downloaded via http://www.esc.org.uk/

Article added: September 21st, 2009