What is PAT Testing?
Portable appliance testing is often referred to as the acronym PAT. A PAT test can be defined as a routine inspection of electrical appliances however, not all electrical items need to be tested. The purpose of the test is to check that the appliances are safe to use and prevent electrical accidents occurring in the workplace.
Depending on the appliance, a full or reduced (called a PAT insulation) test will need to be carried out. A full PAT test should include a visual inspection as well as a more in-depth analysis using specialist PAT testing equipment. The full test includes earth continuity, lead polarity, and insulation resistance checks.
Once the PAT test has been completed, the appliance should be marked ‘passed’ or ‘failed’ and these results will be recorded for future reference.
If you require PAT testing services, please get in contact with our team today.
What Constitutes a Portable Appliance?
Although PAT testing refers to ‘portable appliances’, there is no official definition of what a ‘portable appliance’ is in the current legislation. That being said, it is widely interpreted as being any appliance that has a plug attached to it and which plugs into a wall socket. Subsequently, perhaps the word portable is slightly misleading. There are 7 official categories of appliances which need to be considered for PAT testing, these consist of:
- Fixed appliances
- Stationary appliances
- Hand-Held appliances
- Moveable appliances
- Portable appliances
- Cables and chargers
- IT appliances
Is PAT Testing Necessary?
Under the health and safety regulations in the UK, it is not strictly necessary for all appliances to be fully PAT tested and is not currently a legal requirement or obligation. However, the current UK legislation states that businesses must maintain electrical equipment in a safe condition and must take the reasonable steps to ensure that all electrical items are safe and properly maintained. Companies have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of employees and the public; this also applies to those that are self-employed.
In the workplace, general risk assessments will need to be carried out and one way of complimenting these is to implement portable appliance testing across the whole company.
There are a number of specific pieces of guidance and legislation concerning electrical equipment at work which are outlined below:
PAT Testing Regulations UK:
– The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
– The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
– The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
– The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Who can do Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)?
PAT testing needs to be carried out by a competent and trained person. The Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) defines a competent person as someone who must:
Have adequate knowledge of electricity
Have adequate experience in electrical work
Have an understanding of the hazards that can arise during the work
Have an understanding of electricity at work regulations
Understand the precautions that need to be taken
Have the ability to recognise at all times whether it is safe for work to continue
Have an adequate understanding of the system to be worked on and practical experience of the class of system being worked on
How Frequently Should PAT Rests be Conducted?
There is no specific rule for how often a PAT test needs to be carried out. When referring to the regulations, it states that the level of precaution should be appropriate to the risk. Frequency can, therefore, be determined based on things such as the risk level of the working environment, the type of appliance and the electrical class of the appliance.
Health and safety guidance recommends that you consider the age of the appliance, how frequently it is used, foreseeable misuse of equipment, the condition of the appliance as well as the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Total Electrical Engineering Services
At Total Electrical, PAT testing is always conducted by a qualified electrician or engineer. If you would like to learn more about the electrical services we offer, please get in touch with our team who will be more than happy to advise you.