Aside from installing emergency lights, employers also have the legal responsibility to do emergency light testing in their business premises. This is to ensure that the system is in good condition and will automatically and properly work during emergency situations.
The UK fire safety legislation stipulates that the entire emergency light system must undergo a full test once a year. Apart from this, tests need to be carried out daily and monthly. The legislation also provided some guidelines in BS 5266 (the code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises), detailing the rules that employers and contractors should follow when inspecting and maintaining emergency escape lighting systems.
Emergency light testing schedule
- Daily test: Visual inspection of the emergency light system that runs on a central battery source. The indicators on the central power supply are checked to see if they are operational.
- Monthly test: The luminaries are tested to ensure that they will automatically turn on when there’s a power outage.
- Annual test: For 3 hours, a full rated duration test is done to check if all the emergency lights will function and produce the acceptable level of light.
Emergency light system maintenance
Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure that the system remains at full operational status. This would usually be included in the testing routine and carried out either by a contractor or by trained staff. In addition, spares for consumable items like lamps must be available in the business premises so that they can be replaced immediately.
Logging and recording emergency light tests
After the tests, it is recommended that the observations are logged in the fire safety logbook. The record should include the time and date of the tests. If the tests are done by a contractor, you will receive an emergency light certificate. These logbooks and certificates are important because they serve as proof that you are doing your legal obligations.