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Emergency light testing on automatic sensor lights (with no switches)

Guest Natalie

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Guest Natalie

Half of our building is on automatic sensor operated lights, so there is no light switches.

To test the emergency lights you have to do it via the fuse board. So this brings in the risk of having to touch and access the fuse board to test the lights monthly. My question is who would be deemed competent to do this? would it have to be an engineer/ electrician. Or what type of qualification should someone have to do this? I have a site service man, who says he can do it, but he has no formal qualifications or training in electrics. Would the fact that he has been shown by a qualified electrician be acceptable? Any maintenance is done by a qualified electrician.

Also can you do the annual 3 hour full battery test in-house (on the other half of the building, that does have switches) by turning the lights on for the 3 hours (again maintenance work on faulty lights is done by an electrician) or does this have to be done by a registered electrician/engineer ?


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You do not need a qualified electrician or engineer to carry out the tests/record the results, but the person you assign to the job must be a competent person which is defined as,

 “A person is to be regarded as competent where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly carry out the role assigned to him/her” 

He could get his training from a course or the emergency lighting engineers who maintain the system, plus ongoing training as required. 

I do not understand the emergency lighting system you have; switching the lights off is not going to test the system unless you are talking about dedicated test (fan) switches installed for the purpose of testing the system. Also if you have to use the fuse board to test the other half system then it must be a very old system. I would suggest you bring in your service engineers to advise you and they could instruct your site service man.


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Quite a lot of EL installations have no test switches, even new ones where installed by non specialist electricians.

If your fixed electrical installation is subject to periodic inspections and is satisfactory then there are no risks from using the breakers inside the distribution boards, if they were that unsafe there is something very wrong (& illegal).

Your breakers need to be labelled clearly so you switch off the lighting circuits as oppose to a ring main (which might have your PC's plugged into)

Testing is within the remit of your site person, but for peace of mind you may wish to get an electrician to take him through it. To avoid using the breakers a test switch can be installed next to the distribution board if you so wish.

You can do the annual test in house if you so wish

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