Sunday 21 July

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Outdoor electrical safety in hospitality venues

Outdoor electrical safety campaign 2022-2024

More and more pubs, restaurants and cafes are using outdoor spaces to enhance their customers' experience and expand their businesses. However, the use of external lighting, heating and other electrical equipment can introduce unexpected dangers to your customers and employees. As a business you have a duty to ensure that any electrical equipment you use is correctly installed and maintained by a competent person.

During our campaign you may receive a visit from one of our Environmental Health officers who will ask you questions about your outdoor electrical equipment. Please read and implement the following advice to keep your premises safe.

Electrical installations (including sockets)

Any permanent fixed installation of equipment which does not require sockets, as well as any installation of sockets, should be carried out and maintained by a competent electrician. To show that you are complying with this requirement we advise the following:

  • Check that a qualified electrician has inspected your electrical installation within the last five years, or more recently if there has been a change of occupancy. The electrician may have specified a different more frequent inspection regime due to the system, age or condition at the last inspection, so check your electrical certificate to be sure
  • Make sure any electrician you instruct is qualified and competent
  • Keep certificates and records of work undertaken by electricians
  • Regularly check (and keep a record of visual checks) on outside electrical installations for damage and defects caused by weather, physical abrasion or animals
  • Make sure colleagues handling electrical equipment are trained and know how to isolate equipment or parts of the installation to reduce danger when safety issues are identified
  • Ensure emergency procedures are in place to keep customers and staff away from any electrical danger

Find a qualified and competent electrician

Check the list of approved contractors:  

Check whether an electrician is a member of these trade associations:

Outdoor plug-in equipment

Before installing any outdoor plug-in equipment:

  • Consider using extra low voltage or solar equipment to provide a safer installation
  • Only select equipment that is suitable for outdoor use (usually rated minimum IP44)
  • Check that equipment is not damaged particularly if it has been in storage
  • Ensure that the existing electrical installation is in good condition and compatible with the equipment to be installed. This will include being able to accommodate the electrical load so that circuits and sockets are not overloaded
  • Ensure that equipment is only connected to a socket protected by a suitable residual current device (RCD) also known as a circuit breaker
  • Ensure that sockets are in good condition, suitable for use outside if appropriate and in a location where they won’t be accessed or damaged by customers
  • Remove equipment from its packaging before installation
  • Switch off the electrical supply before connecting

During installation and when using the equipment 

You should:

  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep them safe for future reference
  • Ensure that equipment is installed in locations where it will not be damaged and away from flammable materials and decorations
  • Check frequently for damage to equipment and replace failed lamps as appropriate
  • Always switch off before replacing lamps and use the correct replacement lamp
  • Keep equipment packaging for any future storage. If equipment is stored ensure that it is not in damp or excessively hot conditions

Last updated: ‎02‎/‎08‎/‎2023‎ 11:48