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Emergency Lighting Inspection Checklist

Emergency lighting is essential for protecting your staff and customers. If your primary lighting systems are cut off for any reason, emergency lighting helps guide everybody outside safely.


You are legally required to conduct regular emergency lighting inspections. Wells Electrical Contractors are NICEIC-approved contractors that support businesses in installing, maintaining and testing their emergency lighting systems.


If you’re wondering how emergency lighting inspections work, here’s a comprehensive checklist.

What are the legal requirements for emergency lighting inspections?

With few exceptions, emergency lighting is required in all commercial and industrial buildings in the UK. Furthermore, any business with emergency lighting must comply with the relevant British standard.


In the UK, BS 5266-1 governs the “full duration” test requirements, which must be carried out annually by an authorised professional and last for at least three hours. Monthly tests, known as “flick tests”, are also required for all businesses. In both cases, tests simulate the failure of the mains power supply to check that emergency lighting lamps illuminate correctly.


Each lamp must not only work but must also provide a minimum amount of illumination. The test results must be recorded within an internal logbook for auditing purposes. Finally, if any issues are detected, appropriate remedial action must be taken.


Failure to comply with these legal lighting requirements could lead to significant fines from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Do you need a certificate for emergency lighting compliance?

The Certificate of Emergency Lighting Test and Report is required to prove compliance with the law. These certificates may only be filled out by an approved contractor, such as Wells Electrical Contractors. After completing your annual test, you will receive one in physical or digital format.


Although monthly inspections are required, these may be carried out by a “competent person” within your organisation. Monthly inspection reports require no certificate but must be recorded within a logbook.


Without an annual Certificate of Emergency Lighting Test and Report, there is no proof of compliance with emergency lighting regulations.

Book in your Emergency Lighting Test Now

Emergency lighting inspection checklist for monthly testing

Monthly flick tests are quick functional tests each business must conduct every 30 days. These tests take only 30 seconds but require the primary power source to be switched off. Our dedicated guide on how to test emergency lights goes into more detail, but here is our handy checklist.

Monthly emergency lighting test checklist


  • Inform everyone beforehand that the primary power source will be temporarily switched off.

  • Use your fish key, if available, or your fuse box to switch off the main power supply.

  • Inspect each lamp individually for functionality and brightness.

  • Record your findings on an emergency lighting test switch.

  • Switch the power on again.

  • Report the results of the test in your fire safety logbook.

  • Act upon any issues with your emergency lighting.


Businesses can outsource monthly testing to a company like Wells Electrical to reduce disruption and ensure each test fully complies with the law. Alternatively, our team can train a designated person within your organisation to conduct and record these tests.

Who can carry out the monthly emergency light test?

Monthly emergency light tests don’t require a professional. The law states that a designated responsible party can carry out the test. However, they should be trained in how to do it and report the results of each test properly.


Unfortunately, non-NICEIC-approved contractors may lack the expertise to identify issues that are placing your business into non-compliance. We recommend outsourcing monthly testing to an experienced contractor to guarantee compliance and reduce disruption to day-to-day operations.


Either way, you must ensure a professional shows your designated person the ropes.

Annual emergency lighting inspection checklist

Annual tests are full-duration tests and take considerably longer than monthly flick tests. Enlisting an electrical contractor like Wells Electrical Contractors is pivotal to demonstrating legal compliance through these tests.


After your annual test, you’ll receive a certificate of completion to prove your compliance, including a report of any remedial actions.

Annual emergency lighting test checklist


  • Enlist a Qualified Person – BS-5266 standards legally require you to have a qualified emergency lighting engineer to conduct this test. Working with a qualified partner also ensures that your test is automatically arranged at the appropriate time.

  • Cut the Power – The primary lighting circuits will be cut. This simulates a power cut and examines whether your emergency lights can run on battery power.

  • Check for Duration – Passing this test requires each emergency light to run for a minimum period. Typically, this will be a three-hour test, and your emergency lights must operate for the complete duration to pass.

  • Illumination Test – Each light must be thoroughly inspected for illumination levels. If an emergency light flickers, is dirty or doesn’t provide sufficient lumens, the light will fail the test and remedial action must be taken.

  • Restore Power – Following the three-hour testing period, restore power. Your emergency lights should automatically switch off. Your contractor will then check each light fitting to ensure the battery is recharging, as indicated by a light on the fitting itself.

  • Record the Results—Your emergency lighting engineer will record the test results and issue a certificate proving that a qualified party performed the test.

  • Address Any Issues – If any lights fail the test, you must take action. This could include repairing fittings, replacing bulbs, or replacing the light entirely. Your contractor will outline what actions must be taken.


Full-duration tests put your emergency lights through their paces and guarantee compliance with the law. Note that you must act immediately if any issues arise during annual testing.

Who can carry out the annual emergency light test?

Only a NICEIC-approved contractor can conduct annual emergency light tests and issue an annual certificate of compliance.


At Wells Electrical, we’re approved and authorised to conduct full-rating tests. Over 15 years, we have conducted thousands of tests for businesses nationwide. Although you must go through an approved party for annual tests, we recommend doing the same for your monthly tests. Here are some of the reasons why:


Proactive Maintenance - Maintenance companies do far more than change lightbulbs. They can anticipate and resolve minor issues before they become significant problems, saving you money and stress in the long run.

Guarantee Safety - Emergency lighting testing isn’t a box-ticking exercise. It’s designed to protect you and your employees.

Protect Testing Integrity - Designating an employee to conduct testing may save money, but it doesn’t guarantee thorough testing. Only an experienced contractor can spot the little things that could compromise the effectiveness of your emergency lighting.

Reduce Business Disruption - Partnering with a brand like Wells Electrical Contractors ensures that you, your staff and your company can focus on the important things, like driving your business forward. Moving staff around to comply with emergency lighting testing is disruptive and reduces productivity. Tackle Problems Fast - Noticing problems is one thing, but solving them is quite another. Experienced professionals don’t just identify problems; they address them. Working with us guarantees immediate action if your emergency lights experience problems.


As you can see, you must hire a professional to conduct annual emergency lighting tests, but using the same provider for your monthly tests is also beneficial. Wells Electrical is the number one team if you need an experienced, approachable team of full-service electrical contractors.


To learn more about our emergency lighting testing services or to obtain a bespoke, no-obligation quote, contact us today.

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With a combined 65 years’ experience working nationwide, Wells Electrical Contractors are experts in electrical installation, maintenance and energy saving from conception to hand over in each project. Our engineers deliver the best electrical solutions to businesses in the UK and Ireland.

We understand that no two customers’ electrical needs are the same, and when it comes to making important decisions on upgrades, emergency repairs or installations, the more information you have the better. That’s why we offer a comprehensive range of solutions, as well as the knowledge to help customers make the right decisions.

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