Health and Safety PAT Testing Myths

There are several misconceptions surrounding PAT testing that can lead to unnecessary expenses and compliance issues. Understanding these myths is essential for businesses to implement effective and efficient safety measures for electrical equipment.

PAT testing, or portable appliance testing, is often misunderstood. One common myth is that it is a legal requirement to test every electrical appliance annually. In fact, the law only requires appropriate maintenance of portable electrical appliances based on risk assessments.

Another misconception is that only a qualified electrician can perform PAT tests. However, a competent person who has been properly trained can carry out visual inspections and simple tests using PAT testing equipment.

Businesses should keep clear of all executed pat tests records and inspections as part of their maintenance strategy to ensure workplace electrical safety. Electrical appliances must be regularly checked for faults to comply with work regulations like the Electricity at Work Regulations.

By debunking these myths and understanding the actual PAT testing responsibilities, companies can better manage their portable electrical equipment, avoiding both over-testing and neglect. This section aims to clarify legal requirements, dispel common myths, and offer accurate information on best practices in maintaining workplace electrical safety.

Here, we tackle a few myths about PAT testing, and explain what you can do to keep your business safe:

  • Everything is safe! One of the main myths about PAT testing is that when a company receives it’s PAT certificate, everything in their place of work is safe. A certificate means that the appliances were safe at the time and place where they were checked, and that your business is taking reasonably practicable steps to reduce risk.

  • The cheapest quote will do! Some PAT engineers are in a race to notch up as many tests as they can in a day, due to unrealistically low unit prices. A busy workstation with inaccessible leads and difficult partitions cannot be tested in double-quick time without sacrificing quality. We would suggest that 100-130 tests a day per engineer is a good figure. Do you want SAFETY, or COMPLIANCE? The answer should be BOTH! 

  • PAT testing is the end of the story! In addition to PAT testing, systematic visual inspections should be carried out at regular intervals, and before use of electrical items. This is especially true of leads and cables. Even a thorough test will not guard against future damage or deterioration.

  • PAT testing must be carried out every year! Not necessarily, unless you are operating in a high-risk industry such as construction which specifies PAT testing for 240V tools and cables every year, and every 3 months for 110V tools and cables.  The duty holder or responsible person must carry out a risk assessment and make a decision, based on the type of appliances, environment, level of risk, and so on.

  • Only some items need testing! A blanket test may actually be easier, even though some of those appliances may not need an annual test, simply because having a company in to test only certain appliances can create additional work. Someone has to label all the appliances, repeat visits may be more costly over time, and record-keeping can become more complicated. KTS Ltd is happy to quote for whatever is required in this regard, for example a part-test in an office environment or a blanket test in larger premises.

  • I can carry out my own tests! In-house PAT testing is seen as a solution out by some organisations. However, much like the piece of IT work that is only required once a year, if the person carrying this out is only testing 1 or 2 days per year, they may not be competent even if they are fully 2377 City & Guilds qualified. Independent testing is inexpensive, and the very best way to ensure that your testing records are credible and complete.

  • I don't need any PAT testing! If you run business premises, or place workers in a workplace, or work as a self-employed subcontractor, you need a regular maintenance and inspection routine as part of your health and safety procedures. Under the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act you are responsible for your own health and safety and also for the health and safety of others in the workplace. So stay safe, remain compliant and get evidence of your inspections by having proper PAT testing carried out on all portable appliances. 

  • 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.

Want to read further? See our 'Why Do I Need PAT Testing?' article, then call us on 01628 850650 for a free quotation, without obligation.



At KTS, your compliance is our business. You can rest easy, knowing that we have taken care of everything; from your report, to reminding you about your next test.




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Flackwell Heath
High Wycombe, HP10 9AZ

TEL: 01628 850650


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