Do Your Emergency Lights Comply With Legislation?

Emergency Lighting

Ensure your emergency lights comply with legislation

Understanding the legislation which covers commercial emergency lighting systems can be daunting. Here we will take a look at how managers can ensure their businesses are compliant with this legislation.

There are many forms of legislation covering the implementation and maintenance of emergency lights in business and commercial premises. Under these legislation’s, businesses are responsible for making sure that all emergency exit routes are clearly indicated with signage, and where emergency exits require additional lighting, the emergency lighting must also have a reasonable intensity of light for a certain period of time, in the possibility that the main lights fail. Businesses must be able to provide evidence to show that their emergency lighting is routinely maintained and kept in good order.

To be sure that your emergency lighting is compliant and properly maintained, it is essential that you get advice from a professional electrical contractor or from someone with the appropriate knowledge of the regulations.

Emergency Lighting Types

There are two different types of emergency lighting – maintained and non-maintained. Maintained emergency lights are constantly on and go into an ’emergency mode’ in the event of a power failure, whereas non-maintained emergency lighting only comes on in the event of a power failure. Both emergency lighting types need to be regularly checked against various standards such as making sure that the batteries are in date, the lumen output is at a sufficient level and that the lights will work for a specific period of time. Depending on the size and complexity of a building, this is usually between one and three hours.

To meet compliance, each month the lights should be checked to ensure that they are present, clean and functioning correctly. Using a test facility, each unit should undergo a short duration test, to check that in ’emergency mode’ the lamp will illuminate. A Recommendation is that the lights should be ‘run down’ for at least an hour every six months, and at least three hours every year, this is called a full duration test.

A competent member of staff can perform the short duration test, however all other tests need to be carried out by someone familiar with British Standard 5266 (where the codes of practice are covered in parts one to eight). A detailed record should be kept of all the tests undertaken and the follow up actions that were required. Any repairs needed should be made as soon as possible. If a maintenance contractor is employed, the repairs can be incorporated into the routine maintenance programme.

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