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Self-testing emergency lights

Guest Shaun

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I have a query with regards to self testing emergency lighting.
I am an on-site maintenance engineer for a commercial building. In our corridors, emergency escape routes and some plant areas are covered by LED self testing emergency lighting. I carry out a monthly visual inspection of these lights but there are no records of when the actual self tests occurred ( monthly, 3 monthly and annual tests ) so nothing has been recorded. Is it a requirement to have these tests recorded on file? Your advice would be much appreciated.

Regards, Shaun

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Building landlords, occupiers and employers are obliged by law under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order that emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting.

BS 5266: Part 8 states that the ‘Responsible Person’ concerned must test emergency lighting systems regularly and record the results. He or she may be asked to prove, possibly in a court of law, that the required duty of care has been met.

The simplest ‘self-test’ emergency lighting systems are ‘stand-alone’ types not connected to any other device. Test results are typically shown by a single bi-colour LED on luminaires, but results still have to be entered manually into a logbook.

To avoid manual recording of test results, more comprehensive automatic test emergency lighting systems are available that connect to a control panel typically using data cabling or wireless links - where the results are collected. More complex systems allow the programming of tests from the control panel, or from a PC on which visual representation of the installation can be displayed.

I do not know which self-test system you have but the short answer is all system has to record the results of the test manually or automatically.

Log book (Reporting)

A log book shall be kept on the premises in the care of a responsible person appointed by the occupier/owner and shall be readily available for examination by any duly authorized person. The log book shall be used to record at least the following information:

· date of commissioning of the system including any certificate relating to alterations;

· date of each periodic inspection and test;

· date and brief details of each service, inspection or test carried out;

· dates and brief details of any defects and of remedial action taken;

· date and brief details of any alteration to the emergency lighting installation;

· if any automatic testing device is employed, the main characteristic and the mode of operation of that device shall be described.

NOTE 1. The logbook may also include pages relating to other safety records, e.g. fire alarms. Details of replacement components of luminaires such as lamp type, battery and fusing may also be recorded in the logbook.

NOTE 2. An appropriate print out of data from an automatic testing device meets the requirements of this clause.

Servicing and testing.


When automatic testing devices are used, the information shall be recorded monthly and the results recorded. Regular servicing is essential. The occupier/owner of the premises shall appoint a competent person to supervise servicing of the system. This person shall be given sufficient authority to ensure the carrying out of any work necessary to maintain the system in correct operation.

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Thank you Tom for clearing this up for me.

I have only been on this site for 7 months now and the only records I have for emergency lighting dates back to 2011. So I am now trying to get the emergency lighting log book up to date. Majority of the emergency lighting are LED emergency downlights in the corridors and then we have some fluroscent and 2D fittings for the staircase and plant rooms. All of these are stand alone self testing devices. There is no head end to record these tests. Apart from carrying out a visual inspection of these light fittings I have no idea of when each fitting has a monthly or annual test or if they actually do carry out these self tests. The only way I can know for sure is by knocking the breaker off and testing them that way.

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I think you need to speak to the installer, I understand some self test systems do all the tests, including the flick and 3 hour duration test, if there is a failure all you get is a yellow neon light. Then how do you record the results, the only way I see is to record any failures in the log when you find them and what action you take to rectify the fault.

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  • 8 years later...
Guest Hi Shaun.

I've got a similar question, with stand alone self test how do I know (and can prove) that the fitting IS testing each month and when the annual test is carried out?

You can walk around and see all those green lights but who's to say the fitting isn't faulty and has defaulted to a solid green indicator? 

For this reason I manually test my fitting each month regardless of the self test, it then gets logged on the test sheet as proof.

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Self testing emergency lights are very reliable, they do not (as yet) have a way to remotely monitor their actions. If you do not "trust" them to self test, then I would suggest you replace them with conventional emergency lights, as if you constantly remove / reinstate the supply there is the vague possibility that you will "upset" the internal processor which is what runs all testing functions.

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