9. Electrical safety

Electrical safety guidance and procedures.

At all times Informatics endeavours to follow the current Electricity at Work Regulations and University guidelines on electrical safety.

Visual checks by users

It is the responsibility of all Staff and Students to carry out regular checks of visually accessible parts of the portable electrical equipment they use (including cable, plug as well as any extension cable).

If you identify any of the following report this immediately to your Admin Office or via email to building-issues@inf.ed.ac.uk.

  • Signs of overheating on the plug, socket, cable or the equipment e.g. burn marks or discolouration
  • Damage to the plug e.g. cracked casings or pins
  • Damage to the cable 
  • Taped or other inadequate cable joints
  • Faulty or ineffective switches
  • Loose parts or screws
  • Damage to the outer case of the equipment 

Faulty equipment must be taken out of service as soon as the damage is noticed.

Electric heaters and other high current appliances should not be used with mains extenders, nor left unattended for long periods (especially overnight).

Foreign adaptors should only be used if they carry the British Kite mark or the CE mark and only for short term use. Items expected to be in long term use should be converted to a properly fused UK plug/lead.

Standard Forum desks have individually fused mains extenders which only allow up to 3 amps of current.  Please do not plug in equipment which uses more than this (eg fan heaters).  For higher current items, please connect directly to floor sockets.


Testing of portable equipment

No item of portable electrical equipment (any item which connects to the mains electrical system via a standard 3-pin or 2-pin plug) should be connected to the University electrical supply if it is unsafe. 

The University have regular rounds of inspection and Portable Appliance Testing for its equipment. This is a visual check on the equipment and fuse, along with a test of the insulation and earth bonding (if appropriate) with results being recorded and filed. It is a cyclical check and the timing between each test varies dependant on its usage. Generally this is an annual test but for heavy usage/current equipment it may be a 6 monthly check.

We expect personal items of equipment to conform to similar standards.

Items which do not carry a recognised British Standard symbol or ident are not acceptable and must not be used within the University premises.

The responsibility for ensuring the item is tested rests with the owner of the equipment.

Any University (Informatics) supplied equipment will be tested by the University Works Division, or Informatics technical staff.

If you wish to use personal items within Informatics then you are required to ensure the item is safe for connection to the University electrical supply and are responsible for any damage that the device may cause.

University Portable appliance testing policy: http://www.docs.csg.ed.ac.uk/Safety/general/Electrical_appliances_guidance.pdf

Informatics Forum - Mains extenders and distribution compliance


Reviewed: 26/05/22 dch