Electrical safety is mainly addressed under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EaWR). These statutory regulations are the law. They do not get involved in specific detail but provide the basic requirements for electrical safety.
The regulations contain obligations which are either:
- Absolute – to be undertaken without regard to time, effort and expense, or…
- As far as reasonably practical – where the danger can be weighed up against the cost and time involved in removing the risk
The HSE state that they will only condone not spending the money or putting in the effort to mitigate risk if the risk is grossly disproportionate to the investment required. In view of the risks involved with electricity, failing to act on the basis of cost is however difficult to justify.
As with most health and safety legislation, prosecutions brought under the Electricity at Work Regulations, commence with the premise that you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. It is for you to prove yourself innocent or at least mitigate your guilt.