Take up of electric cars continues to grow, and as this growth continues it’s likely that you’ll be giving thought to installing electric charging points at your workplace to enable employees to charge their vehicles. We are also seeing this shift as many businesses look to their environment, social and governance credentials.
But, as with any addition to the workplace, electric charging points can present a number of risks that you’ll need to both be aware of and manage if you are to keep both your employees and your workplace safe.
Risks to consider when installing electric charging points in the workplace
Amongst others, two key areas of risk associated with the installation of electric charging points, and the subsequent charging of electric vehicles on your business premises are:
Lithium ion batteries (which is the type used in electric cars) can present a fire risk in some situations. For example, if the battery has suffered damage or if any changes have been made to the usual condition or operation of the battery. Fires associated with lithium batteries can be fast spreading and expel large amounts of toxins.
Linked both to your role as the provider of an electric charging point as well as to users of the charging points
Risk management areas to consider
Choosing a suitable location for your electric charging points
Given the possible fire risk linked to batteries contained in electric vehicles there will be many areas to consider when choosing the most suitable location for the charging points. And you’ll need to complete a fire risk assessment which complies with all relevant legislation before going ahead.
Areas to consider will include
- The distance between the electric charging point and your buildings
- That there is enough room for vehicles to be safely parked and connected for charging
- That no flammable or combustible material is stored in the vicinity of the charging points
Correct installation of electric charging points
Electric charging points in the workplace should only be installed by a qualified and approved installer. Chargers should be installed in accordance with manufacturer instructions.
You’ll also need to ensure that any information which you need to display about the electric charger is done so clearly.
And consider areas of safety in case of an emergency – the ability to disconnect or isolate electric charging points for example.
Responsibility and training
You will also need to manage the risks linked to liability if you install electric charging points at your workplace.
Train staff on how to make use of the electric charging points safely and ensure that they understand how to charge vehicles that they may need to drive if they form part of a fleet.
Cables shouldn’t fall on pedestrian walkways as these give the potential for slips/trips/falls to happen. Once trained, users should also take responsibility for visually checking charging cables and stations and reporting any potential faults through the agreed process (which should be clearly signposted).
As the business owner you’ll also want to be aware of any requirements and adhere to best practice when it comes to areas such as prominent signing instructions for use, safety instructions, guidance on what to do in an emergency. As well as maintaining a safe environment for all users around the charging points.
Given the increased fire risk that installing electric charging points in the premises of your workplace can present, you’ll want to take this seriously. And we would expect more businesses to move in this direction over the coming years so safety planning must be at the forefront of your mind.
Insurance considerations linked to installing electric charging points
From an insurance perspective, if you are installing an electric car charging point at your workplace you will need to ensure that you have the right business insurance in place to protect your business against the impacts of a fire. As well as adhering to best practice to adequately manage risks associated with electric charging points in the workplace.
We are increasingly seeing businesses who are installing or who have installed electric charging points but without giving much thought to the insurance implications.
Areas you’ll need to give thought to include
- That your sums insured limits are still adequate
- Your risk management responsibilities as a property owner
- The fact that your insurer may want to conduct a survey of the newly installed electric charging points for their own records
If you want to discuss any of these areas, or just your business insurance needs in general, then do get in touch with our team of experts on 020 8290 9080 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.