Emergency Lighting Risk Assessments to BS 5266-1:2016

ICEL Accredited Emergency Lighting Designers performing risk assessments on workplaces and public venues

Emergency Lighting Risk Assessment to BS5266

Emergency Lighting Risk Assessment: Ensuring Compliance with British Standards and Safety Regulations

Emergency lighting is a critical component of any building’s safety measures, designed to guide occupants to safety in the event of an emergency.

BS 5266-1:2016 Emergency lighting – Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises

Conducting a thorough Emergency Lighting Risk Assessment is not only a requirement under British Standard 5266-1 Emergency Lighting – Code of Practice for emergency lighting of premises , the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, but it is also a fundamental aspect of ensuring the safety and well-being of all building occupants.

This page outlines the importance of this assessment and the role of skilled electrical engineers in ensuring compliance and safety.

Understanding Emergency Lighting Risk Assessment

An Emergency Lighting Risk Assessment is a detailed evaluation of a building’s emergency lighting system.

This assessment ensures that in the event of a power failure, particularly during a fire or other emergency, the lighting system will operate effectively, guiding people safely out of the building.

This evaluation is not just a cursory check; it involves a comprehensive analysis of various system components and factors.

Compliance with British Standard 5266

British Standard 5266 provides the guidelines and requirements for emergency lighting systems.

It covers the provision and installation of lighting and signage for safe evacuation and also includes recommendations for periodic testing and maintenance.

Compliance with this standard is crucial as it assures that the emergency lighting system is reliable, effective, and up to the regulatory standards.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places a duty on the ‘responsible person’ (usually the building owner or occupier) to carry out a fire safety risk assessment, which includes emergency lighting. This legislation emphasizes the need to identify risks and take appropriate measures to mitigate them, ensuring the safety of everyone in the building.

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 mandates the provision of safe working conditions. This includes ensuring that emergency routes and exits are properly lit, making emergency lighting a key aspect of compliance with this Act. Failure to comply can lead to legal repercussions and risks to the safety of occupants.

Key Parts of the Risk Assessment

    1. Assessment of Existing Systems: Evaluating the adequacy of the existing emergency lighting system in line with the current standards and building layout.

    1. Illumination of Escape Routes: Ensuring that all escape routes are adequately illuminated, including changes in level and direction.

    1. Regular Testing and Maintenance: Establishing a schedule for regular testing and maintenance, as stipulated by British Standard 5266.

    1. Battery Backup and Duration: Checking the battery backup systems to ensure they provide lighting for a sufficient duration, typically a minimum of three hours.

Importance of Compliant Documentation

Maintaining compliant documentation of the Emergency Lighting Risk Assessment is not only a legal requirement but also serves as a record of due diligence.

This documentation should detail the assessment findings, recommendations, and records of any remedial actions taken.

It is essential in demonstrating compliance with the relevant standards and regulations and is invaluable during insurance assessments or legal proceedings.

Role of Skilled and Qualified Electrical Engineers

The complexity and importance of Emergency Lighting Risk Assessments necessitate that they be carried out by skilled and qualified electrical engineers.

These professionals have the expertise to not only conduct thorough assessments but also to interpret the findings accurately and provide recommendations that ensure compliance and safety.

Their knowledge of current standards, coupled with practical experience, is vital in identifying potential risks and implementing effective solutions.


Emergency Lighting Risk Assessment is a vital process that ensures the safety of building occupants by providing reliable guidance in emergencies. Adhering to British Standard 5266, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is not only a legal requirement but a moral obligation to protect lives.

The role of skilled and qualified electrical engineers in this process is indispensable, providing the expertise needed to ensure that emergency lighting systems are compliant, effective, and well-maintained.

Remember, the safety of your building’s occupants depends on the reliability of your emergency lighting system – don’t leave it to chance.

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