Legally compliant documentation: Why inspection protocols are so important

Daniel Grobe
Sales and operations
12.04.2019 | 5 min
Why inspection protocols are so important and how you can document with digital inspection protocols in a more legally compliant way you can read in this article.

Obligation to inspect for companies

Electricity accidents happen not only at home, but also in companies. Often those affected have to struggle with the consequences for the rest of their lives. In the worst case, an electrical accident can even lead to death. Every company is therefore obliged to inspect electrical appliances and equipment in use at fixed intervals – from cordless screwdrivers to milling machines. This is what insurance companies and laws prescribe. Inspection protocols that document the regular and professional inspection of commercially used electrical equipment can therefore be extremely important for companies in the event of an accident or a fire and can even protect them from major financial damage.

Obligation without concrete specifications

The German Industrial Safety Regulation and the Accident Prevention Regulation (DGUV) Regulation 3 “Electrical Installations and Equipment” (formerly BGV A3) state that companies are obliged to keep documentation, but they do not regulate how an inspection protocol for electrical devices and equipment must be structured. According to § 5 DGUV regulation 3, an entrepreneur is responsible for ensuring that electrical systems and equipment are checked for proper condition before initial commissioning, before recommissioning after modification or repair and at certain intervals. It is important that the inspection is carried out by a qualified electrician and properly documented.

An inspection protocol is considered as documentary evidence

It is true that legislators and employers’ liability insurance associations do not formulate any concrete requirements for the documentation of audits. However, the documentation of electrical tests should not be underestimated. There is much more to these vague regulations than just bureaucracy: an inspection protocol is of legal relevance. In court, a legally secure inspection protocol is proof that the operator of electrical installations has fulfilled his duty of care. In the case of electrical accidents with personal injury or fires with major material damage, a inspection protocol becomes the most important piece of evidence. A non-existent inspection protocol can therefore cost a company millions and can even decide on its economic existence.

A missing inspection protocol has consequences

If a fire or an accident is caused by an untested electrical appliance or if the company cannot prove the test, the employer’s liability insurance association can exclude its liability. The fire insurance company may also refuse payment. In addition, the company may be subject to substantial claims for damages depending on the incident. Companies should therefore not take their documentation obligation lightly and implement the creation of inspection protocols in as much detail as possible.

Digital protocols create added value

How exactly and to what extent a company documents the testing of its electrical equipment is a matter for its discretion. Standards and regulations remain very vague here. This is shown by sentences such as this: “The test must be documented in a suitable manner“. Special forms are not prescribed here. Digital inspection protocols are also permitted. They can be created using interactive software and offer numerous advantages. With just a few clicks, numerous measured values can be entered and saved. Thanks to the digital filing system, no more tests are lost – in paper folders – and can always be retrieved. Standardized checklists and forms, which can be created individually for each company, guide the employee through the professional inspection process and ensure that he never forgets an entry. This results in great potential, which also offers the company great added value far beyond the pure documentation obligation.
Learn more about the possibilities of creating digital inspection protocols:
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