Posts

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.

 

Read more about Electrical Testing or call to discuss your requirements.

CALL US NOW Electrical Installation Services  020 3912 6200

What is Portable Appliance Testing? PAT Testing

What is PAT Testing?

What is Portable Appliance Testing?

What is Portable Appliance Testing? PAT TestingPortable Appliance Testing is the description for the inspection of the safety of use for electrical equipment.

The inspection consists of a visual inspection of the equipment and an electrical test of the same equipment. Both are important in the inspection and testing due to all electrical faults not being detected just by electrical testing alone. An example would be a damaged casing that exposes the equipment but doesn’t have any fault on the electrical circuits

Visual checks can be undertaken as part of regular maintenance, however electrical testing should be undertaken by a component engineer

Why should I PAT Test?

 

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition

 

The UK Health and Safety Executive along with insurance companies will expect you to perform PAT testing to ensure that you are compliant with certain regulations including:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 2006

Do I need to PAT test new equipment?

There is no formal requirement to test new equipment as it should be provided in a safe working condition. However due to potential damage / complications in transit and delivery it should be part of your routine visual inspections to check if new equipment is free from damage before using

Is Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) Compulsory?

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is not a firm requirement by law. However the requirement of all electrical equipment being safe for use is part of several regulations.

An employer is required by law to ensure that all electrical equipment is maintained to prevent danger. How that is done is down to the employer?

The requirements on the employer should be part of a risk assessed approach. Equipment that is heavily used or in higher traffic areas might be required to be inspected more often than those used less so

The more often equipment is moved is also a consideration. Visual inspections should be undertaken every time equipment is moved or reused for this reason

The decision on PAT Testing will depend on these factors

 

How frequently do I need to test my electrical appliances?

There are no requirements for PAT testing frequency, however there are recommendations:

 Offices, Shops and Hotels – Class 1 equipment including stationary and IT equipment should be tested every 48 months.

Moveable equipment such as extension leads and portable equipment should be tested every 24 months. Handheld equipment should be tested every 12 months.

 Schools – All Class 1 equipment in schools should be PAT tested every 12 months. Class 2 equipment should be tested every 48 months.

 Public Use Equipment – Stationary and IT equipment such as computers should be tested every 12 months.

Moveable, Portable and Handheld equipment falling into Class 2 should be tested every 12 months.

Moveable, Portable and Handheld equipment falling into Class 1 should be tested every 6 months.

Construction – All 110V equipment used on construction sites should be tested every 3 months.

 Industrial – All industrial sites, including commercial kitchens should have Portable and Handheld equipment tested every 6 months. Stationary, IT and Moveable equipment should be tested every 12 months.

Source: pat.org.uk

Do I need an Electrician to do Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)?

It is not a legal requirement for the testing to be done by a qualified electrician. However depending on the inspections required an experienced electrical person will be more suitable than in house members of staff. The only requirements is all tests are taken out by a competent person

For most visual inspections this can be done by employees within the company. However PAT Testing consists of both visual and electrical testing so the following is recommended and required

  • Do they understand what is to be looked for and what to test?
  • Do they have the correct equipment to undertake the tests?
  • Do they have the knowledge to use the test equipment correctly and produce the correct results?
  • Do they know how to understand the results and what to recommend for remedial works if the equipment doesn’t pass?

An experienced electrician will also complete the works in a timely manner due to their experience, knowledge of the equipment and knowledge of what to test

Do I need to label any equipment tested?

The requirement of labelling your equipment is not required by Law. However labelling serves as a quick visual reminder to which equipment has been tested and how long since it has been tested.

It also allows employees to quickly asses the suitability of a piece of equipment when moving or using it

 Do I need to keep Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) records?

Once again the keeping of records is not a legal requirement.

However records highlight to employees which equipment has been tested and the duration since in association with the labels as above

Read more on PAT Testing