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PAT TESTING PORTABLE APPLIANCE TESTING - Electrical Testing

PAT Testing in the Workplace

A Quick Guide to PAT Testing for the Workplace

Electricity is a form of energy which can be exceptionally powerful and is used extensively in workplaces. It can be used to power offices, factories and shops in a variety of ways. But electricity can also be dangerous. Any workplace, packed full of electrical products, represents a significant risk to your staff and your customers. That’s why it’s crucial that you regularly test your electrical appliances.

The most common safety test carried out is PAT testing. It’s a series of checks which safeguards people coming into your business and ensures that you meet the Electricity at Work Regulations. You may not be familiar with the methods behind PAT testing, so we’ve put together a quick guide.

What is PAT Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing (better known as PAT ) involves the examination of electrical products to verify their safety and confirm they are fit to use. The procedure takes in the following checks:

  • A visual inspection of both the cables and the appliance to identify any significant damage e.g. split cables and exposed components
  • An insulation test which measures the quality of insulation that protects any parts of the appliance which carry a current
  • Carrying out an earthing continuity test to determine whether earthing conductors are suitable enough to protect against electric shock

A PAT test can be completed relatively quickly by connecting appliances to a PAT testing device. If the appliance passes the PAT test then it can continue to be used. However, any appliance that fails its PAT test must be removed from service immediately. Although not a legal necessity, it is considered good practice to label individual devices with a PASS/FAIL sticker.

Electrical Testing in the Workplace

The Electricity at Work Regulations state that all electrical systems must be maintained in order to prevent any form of danger. The regulations do not specifically indicate that PAT testing itself is a legal requirement, but the fact remains that it’s a crucial step in maintaining appliances. PAT testing is a guaranteed method for evaluating the safety of electrical appliances. As such, it should form a part of every organisation’s maintenance routine.

When it comes to PAT testing frequency it is recommended that these checks are carried out as per below:

  • Offices, Hotels and Shops: Electrical appliances that fall under the class 1 category – stationary and IT devices – should be tested every four years. However the recommended time between tests is much shorter for portable equipment (every two years) and handheld equipment (every year) 
  • Public Use: Stationary equipment, along with IT systems, should be tested every year if they are being used by the public. Class 2 appliances – those which do not require an earth connection – are also subject to this yearly test. However, any portable and handheld equipment that is handled by the public should be PAT tested every six months.

Final Thoughts

PAT testing is one of the simplest methods of protecting your staff and your customers. Not only does it help your business comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations, but it minimises the risk of electrical accidents. Accordingly, it’s vital that your business understands all PAT testing requirements and also adheres to the recommended PAT testing frequency periods. Most important of all is to work with competent PAT testers who can confidently certify your equipment.

 

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Electrical Installation Services - Electrical Installations London - Electrical Contractors

Electrical Installation Testing Procedures

Electrical Testing

Electrical products are an essential part of modern living. Without these innovative (and sometimes lifesaving) products life would be very different. However, electricity is also unpredictable and can be incredibly dangerous.

That’s why there’s so much legislation in place when it comes to working with electricity. So, to ensure that your electrical installations are safe you need to work with certified experts. Not only will this keep you within the boundaries of the law, but it will also provide a much needed layer of safety. Naturally, you will want to understand the test procedures that these experts will use, so let’s take a closer look at them.

How Do You Test Electrical Installations?

Electrical circuits are complex and technical networks which require specialist training to understand and test. Two main tests are required to ensure that electrical products are safe:

  • New Installation Testing:

All new electrical installations need to go through an initial testing procedure to be verified as safe to use. This test, which can only be performed by a qualified and competent electrician, evaluates the electrical installation. Factors such as the earthing arrangements, types of conductors, supply parameters and safety devices are all evaluated and documented.

  • Periodic Inspection Testing:

    Existing electrical installations must, by law, be periodically inspected by an electrician to ensure that they are safe. These periodic inspections include both a visual and electrical inspection. The results of these tests should highlight any faults or hazards which either require attention or fail to comply with existing BS7671 standards.

The most common electrical testing procedures include:

  • Protective Conductor Continuity:

    It’s crucial that every protective conductor in a circuit meets current electrical standards. They also need to be correctly connected in order to remain safe. An electrician will carry out this test on all accessible and exposed conductors using an insulation tester.

  •  Circuit Breaker Functionality:

    All circuit breakers, RCDs and isolators need to be thoroughly tested to confirm that they can disconnect an electrical supply if necessary. An electrician will need to confirm the effectiveness of these devices and verify that they are correctly maintained and labelled.

  •  Ring Circuit Testing:

    Every ring circuit must be tested in order to confirm the continuity of each conductor in the circuit. This procedure is completed using a continuity tester to determine whether the ring circuit is complete. This test, however, is not considered crucial if previous test records are available. If changes have been made to the circuit, though, it becomes essential that this test is completed.

  • Polarity Testing:

    Verifying the polarity of all circuits is an important procedure when it comes to testing electrical installations. The polarity must be measured at the point of installation, all accessible socket outlets, distribution boards and before any connection to the power supply. The best way to complete this test is by working with either a continuity tester or multi tester.

Electrical Installations Testing

The only way to confirm that electrical installations are safe is by combining all these test procedures. And, remember, these are not tests that can be completed by anyone. You need a fully qualified electrician to carry out these tests safely and accurately.

If you have any questions please visit our electrical testing page or just give us a call 

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