Updated : Jun 12, 2022 in Literature


Health & Safety Executive GS38 guidance note is aimed at people who use electrical test equipment on low voltage circuits. Institution (BSI) guidance and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance Regulations lists HSE Guidance Note GS38 – Electrical test equipment. This is a free-to-download, web-friendly version of GS38 (First edition, published ). This version has been adapted for online use from HSE’s current printed.

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As a general rule, GS38 states that any equipment or test leads that conform to BS EN or BS EN will meet the requirements and be compliant, provided you have taken into consideration the installation category. This should be done preferably on a voltage proving unit some devices have built-in proving units or otherwise on a known live source of similar voltage to the circuit under test providing precautions are taken to prevent danger arising. Related products Electrical safety and you: There are particular requirements for the use of non-contact devices in coalmines.

However, non-contact or proximity devices can be useful in indicating if something is live, eg when attempting to remove a single cable installed in trunking containing many single cables. HSE aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health.

HSE GS38 compliant tip caps

This has changed in the fourth edition, emphasising the importance of using test leads and test equipment that is suitable for the category of the installation. General changes The guidance note has been amended to reflect the wide range of people who work on electrical systems, particularly those where electrical testing is not a primary activity such as gas installers and alarm installers.

Firstly the Guidance Note has been amended to reflect relevant changes to the standard for two pole voltage indicators, BS EN The fourth edition of GS38 makes two important points regarding the purchase of new equipment and the use of older equipment. Updates regarding the causes of accidents This section has been expanded on to include additional issues that have been raised since the previous publication: Throughout this section, revisions have been made to include the need for ongoing risk assessments to ensure safety is maintained as well as re-emphasis of the need for selecting the right CAT safety rating for the installation under test.


hse guidance note gs38

Provided your existing equipment or leads meet either of the above there should be no need to replace anything until they need it. However, if those leads are not rated to the same category as your hxe, you could be putting yourself at risk. This includes electrical testing where dead tests are often as effective as live measurements.

The guidance has not fundamentally changed from the previous version.

Risky business Vehicle safety on farms Kidsafe: See also Electrical safety at work Safe maintenance Risk management The health and safety toolbox – how to control risks at hwe. A final change regarding test leads relates to the use of fused leads. Health and Safety Executive. Setting the multimeter to the wrong voltage range will lead to a false reading, but having it set to measure current or resistance can result in excessive current being drawn through the test probes, leads and multimeter.

Skip to content Skip to navigation. This document provides advice and guidance on how to achieve this. A brief guide Electricity at work: Such devices should be proved before and after use.

This website uses non-intrusive cookies to improve your user experience. The Regulations permit few circumstances where it is acceptable for live working activities to be carried out on electrical equipment or systems, this includes electrical testing and fault finding. This approach would derate the measuring equipment to the lower rating.


This is an important safety issue as using equipment that is not correctly rated for the installation category can and has resulted in serious injury and death.

An important point raised in the causes gd38 accidents is the use hsr multimeters. Other changes include the use of proving units, non-contact voltage detectors and installation category ratings.

We look at the key changes in the fourth edition, the full version of which can be downloaded at the end of this article. If your leads break during testing it can be easy to swap them for another set from a multimeter or clamp meter.

A newly added paragraph touches on the importance or carrying out risk assessments, putting into place relevant safety measures and the use of appropriate PPE. For existing leads and equipment predating these standards, or manufactured to a different standard, GS38 states they must be maintained to prevent danger and should comply with the guidance probes and hde in paragraph nse download the full guidance note below.

The document provides advice and guidance on how to work safely and ensure the right equipment is used and maintained properly.

The Electricity at Work Regulations require those in control of all or part of an electrical system to ensure it is safe to use and maintained in a safe condition.

Specific requirements for test leads In line with changes made to the standards that cover the manufacture of test leads, there are some specific requirements that leads should comply with added in the fourth edition: