Electrical Safety (OBUHSN-18)


The Electricity at Works Regulations 1989 came into force on 01 April 1990. Under these Regulations, the principles of electrical safety must be applied to all places of work at all voltages with no exceptions.

This OBUHSN is intended to implement those regulations as expanded by the Memorandum of Guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 issued by the Health & Safety Executive. Nothing in this OBUHSN should be read as contradicting any requirement or provision of the Regulations or Memorandum. Further explanation and guidance is contained within the Health & Safety Executive Guidance note, Electrical Safety in Faculties.

Where any member of staff is unsure of the nature of their responsibilities arising from the Regulations, the Memorandum or this OBUHSN, or how to fulfil them, advice should be obtained from the Safety Manager.

Portable electrical equipment is defined as that which is not permanently attached electrically so as to form part of a fixed electrical installation. It is connected to an electrical supply via a plug and flexible cable to a socket outlet.

Permanently installed electrical equipment is defined as all other electrical equipment.


The Chair of the University Health, Safety and Welfare Committee is responsible for the overall implementation of this Health and Safety Notice. In particular he/she shall define and implement written systems that will ensure that Deans of Faculties/Directors of Directorates are fulfilling their responsibilities as set out in this OBUHSN.

All Deans of Faculties and Directors of Directorates shall:

  • ensure that a list of all electrical equipment within their Faculty/Directorate is prepared and maintained
  • assess the work of each member of staff in their Faculty/Directorate and ensure that they have received the necessary instruction and training in those aspects of electrical safety relevant to their work
  • ensure that the responsibilities of individual staff within their Faculties/Directorates for all electrical safety are in line with their competence and training
  • define and implement written systems that will ensure that all staff and students within the Faculty/Directorate are fulfilling their responsibilities as set out in this OBUHSN
  • arrange for Portable Appliance Testing to be undertaken in accordance with the guidance given in OBUHSN-33.

The Director of Estates and Facilities Management shall define and implement written systems that will ensure that all outside contractors are aware of and comply with the relevant parts of the Regulations, the Memorandum and this OBUHSN.

The Electrical Services Manager shall:

  • ensure that all permanently installed wiring and equipment is installed in accordance with and complies with the relevant provisions of the current IET Regulations for Electrical Installations
  • have access to all inspection reports and drawings along with documented evidence of all remedial works identified and actioned upon
  • define in writing and ensure that appropriate tests are carried out
  • on all permanently installed electrical equipment, liaising with the appropriate Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate as necessary
  • implement the Oxford Brookes University Code of Practice for Electrical Safety on Low Voltage Systems. A copy of this COP is available from the Electrical Services Manager.

Teaching staff shall ensure that all students that they teach are aware of and comply with the relevant parts of the Regulations, the Memorandum and this OBUHSN.

Users shall:

  • check all electrical equipment and apparatus that they use for obvious signs of defect. Such items must not be used and must be reported to their supervisor immediately.
  • report all personal electrical equipment to their supervisor who shall ensure that is included in the Faculty/Directorate list of electrical apparatus. The University will not be able to comply with its statutory obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974, unless the integrity of all personal electrical equipment can be properly checked.

General precautions

Equipment taken out of service through breakdown should be clearly marked with the nature of the fault. Arrangements should then be made for its repair or disposal and replacement.

New equipment should be examined and prepared for use and thereafter examined at regular intervals in order to ensure its electrical integrity. Visual examination of cable integrity should be carried out frequently especially on those items being regularly plugged and unplugged.

The use of extension socket outlets with trailing leads is to be discouraged. Suitable arrangements must be made for the supply and installation of adequate fixed power points.

Electrical power must always be switched off before inserting or removing a plug from a socket.

On no account must items of equipment be allowed to be suspended by the electrical cable. The length of cable must be adequate to permit the equipment to rest on a suitable surface.

Request written authorisation from the Estates Department before allowing any contractor or consultant access to any part of the Oxford Brookes University low voltage system.

Issue date: 7 March 2016