Scope

This policy applies to all electrical systems and electrical work equipment to the extent that they are within the Universities control, bar the exceptions listed below.

This policy does not apply to electrical equipment that is not owned or provided by the University which is used in residential accommodation for domestic purposes. This equipment is however covered by the University accommodation terms and conditions for students.

This policy does not apply to electrical equipment owned by staff, students or visitors. The University recognises that such equipment may be connected to the University electrical system. The University will accept the use of privately owned double insulated (Class II) equipment in non-residential buildings as long as it is maintained in good condition and working order and is used in appropriate circumstances.

This policy does not apply to equipment owned by contractors. The University recognises that such equipment may be connected to the University electrical system. The University will expect contractors to work to a suitable standard that is at least the equivalent of this policy (see the Management of Contractors Policy).

Legislation

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and memorandum of guidance

Non-statutory Standards

Standards have been set for fixed electrical installations, most notably BS7671:2008+A3:2015 Requirements for Electrical Installations IET Wiring Regulations. Although it is not a statutory instrument, compliance with it will usually ensure compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations.

Definitions

Electrical equipment means anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy.

A system means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy, and includes such source and such equipment.

Competence means having the necessary knowledge and experience of the type of work to be undertaken and the skills and ability to complete the work safely. The scope of the knowledge and experience needed includes:

  • Adequate knowledge of electricity and adequate experience of electrical work;

  • Adequate understanding of the system to be worked on and practical experience of that type of system;

  • An understanding of the hazards which may arise during the work and the precautions to that need to be taken; and

  • An ability to recognise at all times whether it is safe for work to continue.

“Suitable and safe for use” means deciding if a system or item of equipment is suitable and safe for use, based on due consideration of factors such as:

  • The persons who will use the system or item of equipment;

  • The use to which the system or item of equipment will be put; and

  • The environment in which the system, or item of equipment will operate.

Precautions: in this context includes, but is not limited to:

  • Insulation, protection and placing of conductors;

  • Earthing and other suitable precautions;

  • Suitable electrical joints; and

  • Protection from excess currents.

Isolation: means the disconnection from every source of electrical energy in such a way that disconnection and separation is secure against deliberate or inadvertent reconnection.

Live: equipment that is at a voltage by being connected to a source of electricity. Live parts that are uninsulated and exposed so that they can be touched either directly or indirectly by a conducting object are hazardous if the voltage exceeds 50 V ac or 120 V dc in dry conditions and/or if the fault energy level is high.

Dead: means not electrically ‘live’ or ‘charged’.

Policy Statement

The University will manage, so far as reasonably practicable, all electrical systems and electrical equipment falling under its control in such a manner as to minimise the risk of any person using such systems to a tolerable level. The University will aim to achieve this policy by putting measures in place to secure, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • That all electrical systems and equipment is suitable and safe for its intended use.

  • That suitable precautions are taken to prevent danger arising from the use of electrical systems and equipment.

  • That all electrical systems and equipment are subject to a suitable risked-based regime of inspection, testing and maintenance. This requirement is limited to circumstances where this is necessary to ensure that systems or equipment remains safe.

  • That all electrical systems and equipment shall have a suitable means of cutting off the electrical power and isolating it.

  • That electrical systems or equipment which are decommissioned, dismantled or abandoned are made dead and isolated from every source of electrical energy.

That all work on live electrical systems or equipment should be performed in exceptional circumstances only. Work on or near live electrical conductors (other than one suitably insulated) is not permitted unless:

  • It is unreasonable in all the circumstances for it to be dead;

  • It is reasonable in all the circumstances for the work to take place while the conductor is live; and

  • Suitable precautions are taken to prevent injury.

That before any live electrical is undertaken, the operation is subject to a risk assessment and suitable precautions implemented before work commences:

  • That work on or near electrical systems or equipment is only undertaken by persons competent to do so.

The University will accept the use of privately owned double insulated (Class II) electrical equipment in non-residential buildings as long as it is maintained in good condition and working order and is used in appropriate circumstances. The University has adopted the NHS 0601 and NHS 0602 Electrical Safety Rules, for work with high voltage and low voltage systems for making equipment dead and isolated as a means to meet the requirements of the Regulations.

Responsibilities

The Vice-Chancellor (VC) has the overall day to day responsibility for health and safety matters at the University. The VC delegates responsibility for undertaking aspects of these duties through line management & identified roles. The following people are identified as having responsibilities (in addition to any other responsibilities under other health and safety policy) for the management of electrical safety in those areas, and for those relevant persons, that fall under their control:

Heads of Departments are responsible for ensuring that:

  • Electrical systems or equipment are suitable and safe for use. This includes ensuring that suitable precautions are implemented to prevent danger.

  • Electrical systems or equipment are subject to a suitable regime of inspection, testing and maintenance to ensure they remain safe to use. This requirement is limited to circumstances where this is necessary to ensure safety.

  • That electrical systems or equipment are disconnected and isolated before any work is conducted on or near the conductors, unless it is planned that live electrical work will be performed. This requirement is limited to circumstances where exposure to live conductors can cause injury.

  • Any planned live electrical work is only performed if the criteria set out in the policy are met. This includes ensuring that the work is fully assessed and suitable precautions implemented before work commences. This requirement is limited to circumstances where live electrical work can cause injury.

  • For work within his/her control on or near electrical conductors is only performed by persons competent to do so.

The Director of Estates, the Director of Sports Development & Recreation and the Director of Accommodation & Hospitality Services are responsible for ensuring that:

  • Fixed wire testing to the University on buildings falling under their respective control are carried out on at least a five-year rolling basis.

  • Suitable records, including relevant certification, in respect of fixed wire testing are kept and maintained up to date.

  • All persons employed to carry out work to the fixed wire electrical system are competent to do so.

  • The Director of Sports Development & Recreation and the Director of Accommodation & Hospitality Services have each formally appointed the Director of Estates to manage fixed wire testing on their behalf in the areas that they control.

Employees are required to:

  • Cooperate with the University with regard to compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the Electrical Safety Policy.

  • Not connect non-University equipment to University electrical systems other than that equipment which is permitted within this policy.

  • Take reasonable care of their own safety and the safety of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions. This includes working in compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations in so far as it is within their control to do so.

Students are required to:

  • Cooperate with the University with regard to compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the Electrical Safety Policy.

  • Not connect non-University equipment to University electrical systems other than that equipment which is permitted within this policy.

Monitoring

University Health and Safety Committee will be responsible for:

  • Monitoring and reviewing this policy. Reviews will be carried out every three years from the date of approval.

Further Information

The Health & Safety Executive, Electrical safety at work portal – contains free guidance documents

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and memorandum of guidance (HSR25 third edition) – available free of charge on the Health & Safety Executive site