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Electricity in the Work Place  - Supplying Electrical Equipment

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989
The Plugs And Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994

If you supply electrical equipment in the course of your business or have it in your possession with a view to supply then it must be safe. Supply includes sale and hire. Supply includes making it available as part of a holiday let or in a guest house or in furnished lettings.

Electrical Equipment Supplied in the Course of a Business:

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989 apply to anyone who supplies electrical equipment in the course of a business.

The safety of any electrical equipment that is supplied as part of furnished accommodation that is hired or let is controlled by the Regulations, including as part of a holiday let and under the Consumer Protection Act, letting agents and landlords are liable as suppliers. 

The Regulations impose the obligation on the supplier of such goods to ensure that they are 'safe', so that there is no risk of death or personal injury to humans or pets, or risk of damage to property.

When purchasing such items, your supplier should only be selling items which comply but if you make those items available to third parties in the course of your business – eg in holiday accommodation or part of a furnished letting or as part of a services/equipment hire arrangement– then you are also liable.

Both sets of Regulations relate to:

all mains voltage household electric goods including cookers, kettles, toasters, electric blankets, washing machines, immersion heaters, etc but as the regulations do not apply to items attached to land, they do not extend to fixed electrical wiring and built-in appliances (eg. cental heating systems)

the supply of electrical equipment designed with a working voltage of between 50 & 1000 volts a.c. (or between 75 & 1500 d.c)

The Regulations Require that:

All electrical equipment that is supplied is safe.  Does the equipment comply with the current UK standards? 

Where the safe use of the equipment relies upon the user being aware of any particular characteristic, suitable information or instruction booklets should be provided.  The instructions should be given in English.

Any equipment supplied in the EEC after 9th January 1995 must be marked with the appropriate CE symbol

When purchasing such items, your supplier should only be selling items to you which comply but if you make those items available to third parties in the course of your business then you are also liable.  This may present a problem to letting agents or landlords taking over the supply of premises where there is equipment already installed.

What Action Should you Take?

Only purchase electrical equipment that is new and that carries the appropriate British or European Safety Standard marks.

Regularly perform a user check on all electrical appliances for defects (e.g. frayed wiring, badly fitted plugs, etc.).  Remove unsafe items.

Set out and follow a procedure for formal safety checks and maintenance on a regular basis as appropriate for the appliance – See Guidance.

Maintain records of the checks carried out.

Ensure that instruction booklets are available where necessary for their safe operation

Avoid purchasing second-hand electrical appliances for rented properties.

If taking over as landlord or letting agent of premises where appliances are already installed, have them checked by a qualified engineer.

Plugs and sockets and adapters for domestic use and electricity supply meters are excluded products.  See Guidance on Adapters, Plugs and Sockets


All mains electrical equipment, new or second-hand, that is “supplied”, including supplied with accommodation, must be safe.  If it complies with, and continues to comply with a currently acceptable standard, e.g. a British / European Standard, then it will normally meet the safety requirements.

Electrical equipment should be provided with instructions for safe use.

Electrical appliances must be correctly fitted with an approved plug with sleeved pins.  All plugs should carry the name and reference number of the approved body, normally BSI or ASTA. 

The plug does not have to be moulded on but it must have the correct fuse for the appliance.

These Regulations do not apply to the fixed electrical and lighting circuits.

Section 39 of the Consumer Protection Act provides a defence of 'due diligence'. It is a defence under the Act if you can show that you took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence.  A letting agent who simply requests confirmation from the landlord is unlikely to be able to rely on this defence.

The 1989 Regulations revoke The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1975 and The Electric Blanket (Safety) Regulations 1971. Second-hand electric blankets should not be supplied.

Letting Agents and Landlords

It is strongly recommended that equipment be checked by a qualified electrician before the start of each let and at regular intervals thereafter.

Contact us to help you conduct a full risk assessment of your premises

Additional Reading:

Quick Guide - Electricity in the Workplace

Quick Guide - Testing and Maintaining Electrical Equipment

Quick Guide - Supplying Electrical Equipment in the Course of a Business

Quick Guide - Plugs and Sockets

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