Fluorinated Gases (F-Gases) are a family of man-made gases (Hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs) used in a range of industrial applications. Because they don’t damage the atmospheric ozone layer, they are often used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances. F-gases are powerful greenhouse gases, with a global warming potential of up to 23,000 times greater than carbon dioxide, resulting in tighter regulations on refrigeration gas production, equipment, service and maintenance including the F-Gas Regulation.
The legislation requires the owners and operators of refrigerant based systems to take steps to eliminate the emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (HFCs). These include all the commonly used refrigerant gases used in air conditioning, fridges and freezers.
Operators of equipment containing F-Gases must:
- Prevent leakage
- Ensure that leak checks are carried out
- Repair any leaks as soon as possible
- Arrange proper refrigerant recovery
- Maintain a record of any refrigerant losses, additions and servicing for each and every machine
Emergency lighting is one of the life safety systems required to be provided, where necessary, in premises where people are employed.
BS EN 50172 / BS 5266-8 (Emergency Escape Lighting Systems) specify the minimum provision and testing of emergency lighting for different premises. Additional information on servicing can be found in BS 5266-1: (code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises).
Full duration emergency lighting testing in addition to regular monthly tests (also known as a flick test) to be carried out by the person responsible for fire safety, yearly full-duration discharge tests are required.
Full duration tests involve checking that the lighting unit activates correctly in a simulated loss of power situation and stays on for the rated duration of the battery (usually 3 hours). After testing the luminaire is returned to its stand-by state.
Fixed Wire Testing
Fixed Wiring Testing (FWT) is a popular phrase used to describe an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
Some premises such as cinemas and petrol filling stations are recommended to be tested annually, whereas an office space may only require to be tested every five years.
The two main dangers associated with electricity are the risk of shock and the possibility of fire. Over a period of time those risks are increased because installations deteriorate due to age as well as due to normal wear and tear.
Periodic fixed wire testing in accordance with BS7671 involves the testing of electrical circuits and systems that distribute electricity around a building.
Once your electrical system has passed the inspection fully and any urgent remedial work has been completed, you will be provided with an EICR certificate of safety, giving you peace of mind that your electrics are safe.
Portable Appliance Testing
As with Fixed Wire Testing, PAT is encompassed in the IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology) British Standard BS7671. The categories for PAT as defined by the IET include ‘moveable’, ‘stationary’, ‘portable’, handheld’ and ‘IT’. By definition this offers a very broad spectrum of equipment that falls within these groups, so PAT usually concerns large numbers of individual tests.
PAT is not in fact compulsory the law simply requires an employer to ensure that their electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger. It does not say how this should be done or how often. It should be borne in mind however that the electricity at work regulations states:
“It shall be a defence for any person to prove that they took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence”
The easiest way to fulfil your health and safety obligations as an employer is to get an unbiased qualified expert to test the electrical wiring system in your premises including the portable appliances.