3 School Electrical Equipment Mistakes that Can Risk Student Safety

Periodic testing and tagging of portable electrical equipment and residual current devices in schools is important to preserve wellbeing of students and other people in the school compound. There are many dangers posed by damaged electrical devices, including potential for injury and even death following electric shocks.

Every state has specific laws regarding items that need testing and the frequency of such testing and tagging procedures, and administrators of schools should be conversant with them. However, there are common oversights made by such managers, and these could potentially endanger students, even if testing and tagging regulations are followed. Read on to learn more.

1. Not keeping proper records

Apart from ensuring testing and tagging compliance, the administrator should ensure that the school keeps proper records of all equipment/device tests, inspections, maintenance/repair or withdrawal of damaged equipment and risk assessment. These records are useful when handing over jurisdiction to another administrator to ensure there isn't a lapse in the inspection and testing schedule. Since it isn't a requirement that all equipment be tagged following safety inspection, the records provide useful information about past and future inspection needs.

2. Over-reliance on tags

One common danger of testing and tagging according to the prescribed schedule is that inspectors or administrators may over-rely on information provided in the tags. You must remember that having an item inspected and tagged today isn't a guarantee of safety tomorrow, particularly if the device is located in a hostile environment (a place where it is likely to be exposed to damaging factors under normal operating conditions).

Rather than examining the tags as an indicator of safety of a device, administrators must train users and inspectors of such electrical equipment to conduct physical inspections prior to every use to ensure that it is safe. In addition, inspection of electrical equipment – even tagged equipment – should be included in the periodic workspace inspections of every area for maximum safety.

3. Not conducting risk assessments

State regulations are clear on items that need testing and tagging. Apart from bringing in competent personnel to carry out testing, however, risk assessment of the entire institution is necessary to ensure that there are no lapses in the safety protocols. For instance, if electrical equipment is located in an area prone to vandalism, steps should be taken to secure the equipment or regularly inspect it to ensure its integrity.

Administrators should oversee routine risk assessments of the premises under their jurisdiction and implement control measures to manage operations including pre-use checks, formal inspections, maintenance, repair, replacement, training and instruction and testing and tagging as necessary. Proactive risk management is the best way to ensure safety.