PAT Testing Explained

If you have come to our web site, you probably already understand that Portable Appliance Testing, or PAT Testing, is an important way of ensuring the safe working condition of electrical appliances.

There is no specific legal requirement for PAT Testing per se, however many pieces of legislation require electrical installations, and portable appliances, to be inspected and maintained at regular intervals. Most business premises are also workplaces, therefore the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) applies. HASAWA even applies in a private home, where employees such as care workers are being sent to fulfill a contract. HASAWA is one of the few pieces of legislation that carries 'reverse onus of proof'. This means that in the event of an accident or incident, the business owner is guilty until proven innocent. The onus is on the business owner to prove that all reasonably practicable steps were taken to ensure the safety of employees and all other persons using the premises, and inspection and testing records are one way of proving this.

The Electricity At Work Regulations, 1989 cover every kettle, fax, copier, computer, extension lead, etc, including 110V equipment, in a business or public place. The Construction and Design Management Regulations 2015 cover all electrical items in use on a construction site, and in a domestic home where refurbishment works are being carried out. In fact, if it is electrical and has a plug on it, whether it is in regular use or not, then it must be maintained safely, and in the event of an accident or incident, thorough testing certificates may be a key element of your defence against a heavy fine or even imprisonment.

Fixed wiring installations also need to be inspected and maintained. Read all about it using this link.

What does the law say about PAT testing?

How do we carry out a PAT test?

Surely I don't need to worry about agency workers or subcontractors! Actually, you should be checking that anyone working for your organisation is carrying out their own regime of maintenance and inspection, even if they are responsible for their own health and safety. Just as a customer might ask to check your health and safety procedures, and equipment testing records prior to allowing you to carry out work for them, you should be carrying out an appraisal of all workers and/or subcontractors to ensure that they are still qualified, insured and competent, and working to recognised standards. This is one of the ways a responsible organisation demonstrates that it has taken all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of employees, workers, visitors and the general public.

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