HSE Safety Notice: Regular Maintenance of Industrial UPS Systems is Critical

Power Control
11 Mar 2022

On the 2nd of March 2022, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released a safety notice relating to the maintenance of industrial uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) systems. Following several investigations into UPS failure, which in some instances has resulted in ‘localised fires within the industrial UPS system’ a greater emphasis has been placed on the need for UPS maintenance.

The fires have typically been caused by a failure of either the capacitors or batteries causing smoke or excessive heat within the industrial UPS systems and leading to a failure of the static switch and a failure to provide emergency power.

The underpinning issue of this safety problem has been linked to an inadequate UPS maintenance programme. It is recommended that a UPS is serviced by a qualified UPS engineer on an annual basis and the maintenance contract should last the lifetime of the UPS.

Like with any piece of equipment, the chassis is nothing without its inner mechanisms and as per HSE recommendations, regular servicing is imperative to maintaining component quality and ultimately ensuring the guaranteed performance of the equipment. Ultimately, any UPS may fail if not maintained correctly.

Intricate components such as capacitors, fans and rectifiers will need replacing over the lifetime of the UPS as they naturally degrade, this degradation can cause serious issues with the UPS and may even result in fire. Component lifespan can be extended through regular servicing and detailed cleaning.  

UPS environment also plays a critical role in UPS performance. If situated in a harsh environment such as dust, heat, humidity, or sand, the number of routine maintenance visits should be increased to ensure the UPS is running in optimal condition.

Critical equipment including control systems, emergency shut down systems and emergency mitigation systems have typically been the systems affected by this issue. Although UPS investment can be considerable and the cost of service contracts may be significant, it is a necessity and a critical part of maintaining the performance of the UPS to avoid issues like the one highlighted by the HSE.

As an independent leading power protection specialist, Power Control Ltd has aligned itself with international manufacturing partners, which are all renowned for superior component engineering. The business prides itself on its influential role within the emergency power sphere and invests a lot of resources in being as close to its manufacturing partners as possible.

All of our engineers are trained to the highest level with OEM factory training and regular toolbox talks to ensure their knowledge is up to the minute. Our range of maintenance contracts includes 3 levels of cover and a bespoke cover option because we understand the needs of some businesses is more specific. Contact us to find out more about our maintenance plans.