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Common hazards, your legal duties and precautions you can take when working with electricity

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Electrical safety at work should be a concern to all organisations.

Use the links below to find information on hazards when working with electricity, how to assess these, precautions you can take and your legal obligations.

  1. Common electrical related hazards
  2. Electrical safety precautions
  3. Electrical safety legislation

3. Electrical safety legislation

​​Electricity at Work Regulations (1989)

The ​Electricity at Work Regulations apply to all aspects of the use of electricity within the workplace. They place duties on employers, employees and the self-employed to prevent danger.

Duty holders must

  • have the electrical systems constructed in a way that prevents danger
  • maintain the electrical systems as necessary to prevent danger (including a 5 year fixed installation inspection​)
  • carry out work on electrical systems carried out in a way that prevents danger.

Electrical equipment used in hazardous environments must be constructed or protected to prevent it becoming dangerous. This includes

  • extremes of weather
  • extremes of temperature
  • corrosive conditions.

Employees should only work on or with electrical equipment if they have suitable

  • training
  • knowledge
  • experience
  • supervision.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have guidance you can download on the Electricity at Work Regulations.

Visit the HSE site for Electricity at Work Regulations​​​

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences​ Regulations 2013

The ​Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) advise that the following incidents must be reported.

  • Electrical short circuit or overload causing fire or explosion.
  • Plant or equipment coming into contact with overhead power lines.

You should also report injury to staff due to an electric shock or electrical burn that leads to

  • unconsciousness
  • requiring resuscitation
  • admittance to hospital.

Safety Signs and Signals Regulations 1996

The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations place duties on employers, duty holders and others who have responsibility for the control of work sites and premises, and provide guidance on correct signage and non verbal communication methods.​


The Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) Wiring Regulations have the status of a British Standard. They are supported by guidance notes on particular requirements of parts of the regulations.