PAT Testing Explained


Here are a few facts about PAT testing – who should do it, how often, why it is done:

 

  • It's good practice! PAT testing or portable appliance testing is an important part of any health & safety policy.

  • Electrical appliances cause accidents! The Health & Safety Executive states that 25% of all reportable electrical accidents involve portable appliances.

  • The law requires regular inspections! The Electricity at Work Regulations place a legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the regulations and take reasonably practicable steps to ensure that no danger results from the use of such equipment. This requires the implementation of a systematic and regular program of maintenance, inspection and testing. A great way to prove regular inspection and testing is to have appliances PAT tested!

  • The law requires regular inspections! The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) places such an obligation in the following circumstances:1. Where appliances are used by employees.2. Where the public may use appliances in establishments such as hospitals, schools, hotels, shops etc. 3. Where appliances are supplied or hired.4. Where appliances are repaired or serviced. A great way to prove regular inspection and testing is to have appliances PAT tested!

  • The frequency of testing varies! The level of inspection and testing required is dependent upon the risk of the appliance becoming faulty, which is in turn dependent upon the type of appliance, the nature of its use and the environment in which it is used. 

  • There are guidelines! The Institution of Electrical Engineers publish the "Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment" (ISBN: 978-0-86341-833-4) . This guide forms the basis for portable appliance testing in the U.K. In truth, this publication is by far the best publication, as HSE guidelines are not as concise with regard to PAT testing.

  • PAT testing makes good business sense! PAT testing is NOT on the statute books, so for example you cannot be fined for not carrying it out, but regular maintenance and inspection is required. So, any responsible person within an organisation, large or small, SHOULD insist on a PAT regime at regular intervals to ensure SAFETY and not just COMPLIANCE. PAT testing by a third party organisation such as Kingsmead Testing also provides valuable EVIDENCE of compliance, and with Kingsmead you also have peace of mind that the job has been done properly. 

  • Businesses must be able to prove that a suitable testing system is in place! Fines or even imprisonment can be imposed if an accident, injury or fire occurs, and evidence of a regular inspection and testing regime is not in place. A great way to prove regular inspection and testing is to have appliances PAT tested! You should also be checking that any subcontractors working for you are observing a safe system of inspection, maintenance and testing. This can be as simple as requesting copies of their inspection records each year along with their insurance documents, etc. If a subcontractor's tools cause an accident, injury or fire on your premises, or on a job where you are responsible for health and safety, you will be required to prove that you have taken the step of checking that they are compliant.

  • Lack of testing and maintenance can affect your insurance! Your company's insurance policy may be invalidated if you are not carrying out regular maintenance and inspection routines. Duty holders or responsible people should check with their insurance company to find out what is expected in terms of frequency of testing, and this is often the best advice we can give.

For more details, read our article, PAT Testing and the Law, then call us for a free quotation: 01628 850650