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Why emergency lighting should be tested in commercial buildings

Emergency light

What is emergency lighting?

 An emergency lighting system does exactly what it says on the tin – creates immediate illumination in emergency situations such as a fire or power cut. They are essential for unforeseen circumstances that could lead to sudden darkness in a building and/or cause potential danger to customers and employees. The main purpose for commercial buildings to have emergency lighting is to help maintain business continuity, or in more serious circumstances, allow people to evacuate the building safely.

Why do we test emergency lighting?

 The testing of emergency lighting helps prevent the risk of accidents and incidents that can occur in a power shortage. Regular testing on the system ensures it is in working order.

How often should emergency lighting be tested?

It is essential that emergency lighting is regularly tested. This should involve a yearly duration test and monthly testing on the system.

Annual duration testing

A ‘3 hour duration’ test should be carried out by a qualified electrician every year on your emergency lighting. This is when an electrician tests the lights for 3 consecutive hours while examining the system to make sure all lights are providing appropriate illumination.

Monthly testing 

Monthly checks can be carried out by a ‘responsible’ person in the commercial building. The main purpose of these checks is to make sure the emergency lighting is working correctly on a being monitored on a monthly basis. This involves turning the mains power off and making sure the emergency lights illuminate. Checks should be recorded in a log book.

Benefits of testing your emergency lighting:

You ensure the safety of your staff and employees

Properly functioning emergency lighting can help guide building occupants to safety in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or power cut. As an employer, it can give you peace of mind that your work place is safe should an emergency arise.

Helps to keep your building complaint with safety regulations

Having your emergency lights tested shows your business understands the importance of compliance with the responsibilities set out in British Standards BS 5266-1:2016

Reduces the risk of liability

In the event of an emergency, a malfunctioning emergency lighting system could lead to severe injury or even death. Regular testing can help ensure that your system is working properly and can help protect against potential liability which can lead to higher premiums in the future.

Keeps your business up and running

In the event of a blackout your business will be able to operate in an illuminated space. It will prevent disruption to your business which can affect cashflow.

Maintain performance of your emergency lighting system

Regular testing can help to spot any lights or fittings that could potentially be damaged. This would make the system poor in an emergency. Testing ensures system is working at optimum efficiency.


GlenFarrow has a dedicated electrical department that specialises in emergency lighting testing, refits and installations. To find out more call us on 01775 722327.