Companies who rent or hire electrical equipment for commercial purposes, both in a DIY domestic or workplace environments, have a responsibility in law to ensure the ongoing safety of their equipment. In 2013 the Hire Association of Europe technical committee created a code of practice for Electrical Safety Testing in the Hire Industry.
The CoP is designed to assist companies that hire electrical equipment and appliances to the general public or businesses and recommends good working practices for the management of in-service electrical equipment for companies renting equipment in both the tool and event hire sectors. It also underlines the legal duty of care operators have to ensure that equipment made available for hire remains in a good safe working condition and that routine electrical safety testing is necessary to ensure that all equipment supplied by the hirer meets this requirement.
The potential risk in a piece of rented equipment coming back unsafe is much higher than that of one owned by a company for use.
There are a number of factors that increase this risk for the company renting the item such as;
- No Visibility of the Equipment whilst on hire
- No understanding of user, and their knowledge of using the tool safely
- No ownership of the product by prospective customer
- Usually used in construction environments (Dusty / Damp)
When the risks are considered it is clear that regular and thorough testing of equipment is vital to maintain the level of safety. Whilst often referred to as PAT Testing, the suggested test schedule is a repeat of a manufacturer’s production line test. The principle being that the product is tested more stringently to prove it is as safe as it was from new.