Information on the legislation that impacts on electricity and safe working

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) has guidance you can download on the Electricity at Work Regulations.

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences​ Regulations 2013

The ​Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) (external site) advises 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 (external site) 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 (external site) on particular requirements of parts of the regulations.