Do I need Risk Assessments in my electrical business?

October 15, 2014

Do I need Risk Assessments in my electrical business?

The DPC for Amendment 3 proposes the placement of additional, clear responsibility on the designer to produce Risk Assessments for the omission of additional protection by means of an RCD for socket outlets with a rated current not exceeding 20A. Those unaccustomed to documenting formal risk assessments may be thinking, “Do I really need to use Risk Assessments in my business?”

Assuming the acceptance of the DPC for Amendment 3 as it stands the answer will undoubtedly be “yes”, if you elect to omit additional protection by means of an RCD for socket outlets with a rated current not exceeding 20A in your installation design. Not only will there be a legal obligation to use Risk Assessments, there will be a strong business argument for doing them too.

As electricians and designers we carry out Risk Assessments to protect the people who will use the facilities where we install equipment and carry out electrical work. This has the knock-on effect of protecting us and our business from claims made against us.

The penalties of not correctly assessing risk can be devastating for both the individuals injured and the businesses involved. Cases brought against businesses where injury is caused by contacting electricity have historically had a high rate of success. The union USDAW reported that between 1995 and 2001, 79% of cases brought by their members due to “injury caused by contacting electricity” were successful.

Carrying out a Risk Assessment doesn’t have to be an onerous task - you can save yourself a lot of time, effort and worry by using a risk assessment template.  If the DPC for Amendment 3 is accepted you will need to design one of these for your own business but there are sample templates out there to help you get started.

For more information on the DPC for Amendment 3, download “Five Shades of Yellow: The five things you need to know about the DPC for Amendment 3.”


NOTE: The statements made in this blog post refer to the Draft for Public Comment for Amendment 3 to BS7671.  Changes proposed in the DPC may not appear in the final publication of Amendment 3. It remains the individual’s responsibility to check which of these proposals are accepted and published.

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