Electricity is a puzzling form of energy that very few people understand, and yet every day it is used in various forms by the great majority of humans. Advancements in technology have made our lives easier at an impressive pace due to numerous appliances powered by electricity, but its energy can be dangerous as much as helpful. Everybody should know how to avoid risky situations and all kinds of danger related to the use of electric energy. The key words are: safety and reliability of the electrical installations we use.

Britain’s Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is one of the firs statutory regulations dealing with this problem. Among many other things, it relates to electricity and a number of other regulations covering specific areas are based on it.

In the U.K. the following regulations are most closely to electrical installation work:

Personnel Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (PPE) – requires employers to provide suitable PPE for their employees.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) – requires employers to control the risks and take precautions regarding hazardous substances

Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR) – This places a responsibility on any person who has control of an electrical system to ensure safety

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 (CDM) – This deals with safe systems of work on construction sites

The Building Regulations – These Regulations relate to all aspects of building construction and are known as Approved Documents or Parts. Part A, Part B, Part E, Part L, Part M and Part P are related to electricity systems within buildings.

Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 was introduced on 1 April 1990. It placed duties on employers to ensure that employees engaged in such work activities on or near electrical equipment implement safe systems of work, have technical knowledge, training or experience to carry out the work safely, and are provided with suitable tools, test equipment and personal protective equipment appropriate to the work they are required to carry out.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, are statutory regulations and were set up under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

BS 7671

BS 7671:2008 Requirements for Electrical Installations come in to effect on 1st July 2008.

BS 7671 is commonly known as the 17th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations.

The Regulations apply to the design, erection and verification of electrical installations.

The Regulations in BS 7671 are non-statutory. They may, however, be used in a court of law in evidence to claim compliance with a statutory requirement such as the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.