Flexible working – who’s checking the appliances?

By March 4, 2020News
Flexible working - who's checking the appliances

The flexible working revolution is here to stay, but who’s checking the appliances used? In this latest blog we look at whose responsibility it is to ensure appliances are safe. And as staff are ‘more mobile’ with their work, how can you ensure general equipment is safe to use? We find out…

The flexible working revolution
We know how important it is for businesses to offer agile and flexible working for employees. If you want to attract the very best talent to your business, flexible working will make the difference. Employees will feel valued. And happier employees make for more productive ones. There’s also a new generation of workers who have a different outlook on the working day. They expect a degree of a flexibility with their time. But all this can make electrical safety testing a bit of a nightmare.

How does flexible working work?
The type, level and degree of flexible working that’s on offer very much depends on the business. The sector, the job role itself, customer expectations and the working environment all play their part. The types of flexible working we come across vary from staggered working hours to working from home and job sharing.
Within offices too, we see a new way of working. Gone are the days of this is ‘your desk’ and this is ‘my desk’. Instead we are seeing more shared working spaces and collaborative corners. Staff have the ability to move around and work where they feel comfortable. There’s more fluidity across offices and workspaces. But with all this, we still need to make sure the electrical appliances we are using, are safe. The number one way to do this is to have a plan for checking the appliances.

Company property wherever staff work
The most important point to consider, is who the property belongs to. If you give a staff member a company laptop and mobile phone, those items belong to the business. Wherever your staff members may be working using those items, the safety of them is down to the business. It doesn’t matter where your staff are working, if you provide the equipment, the safety of it is down to you. The Health and Safety Executive stress this, as follows, “Of the work equipment used at home, you are only responsible for the equipment you supply.”
This is why, when it comes to flexible working, the need for regular PAT (portable appliance testing) is vital.

More frequent testing
As a general rule, we would recommend standard office equipment is tested every two years. With that, we also recommend staff can inspect equipment visually to identify any potential issues or faults. However, if your staff are transporting equipment regularly, we may advise testing these items more often due to the increased risk of damage. We would look at this as part of a wider electrical appliance maintenance programme. This would see us add equipment to a register, identifying those items which stay in the office, and items which are transported. We can then recommend the frequency for testing each item.

Checking the appliances used by flexible workers
Another important point to consider is the availability of the equipment for testing. If you have flexible workers off-site at the time of PAT testing, their items will of course be missed. For this reason, it’s crucial that company appliances used by flexible workers feature on the company’s electrical appliance register. That way they can’t be missed. And you will need to make sure staff are aware of the need for appliance testing. They will need to know how often and when their electrical appliances must be brought in for testing.

How we can help
Here at 250 Rio, we can help you manage the testing of all your office or workplace appliances. Both those that stay in the office, and those which are used by flexible workers. We can make sure you have all the necessary equipment listed on a register. And thereafter, a plan for testing the equipment. We can also advise how you can get staff members involved in doing visual inspections of appliances as part of your wider health and safety initiatives. Contact us today to get started!

Whatever your business size, whichever industry you’re in, our appliance testing services will help keep you compliant. We provide a flexible service at an affordable price, so it is easier for you to carry out electrical safety compliance. Get in touch with us for an initial free, no obligation quote.