The word PAT stand for Portable Appliance Testing. It is a safety check carried out on electrical tools or appliances on a regular basis. It is performed to safeguard any individuals using that tool or appliance, such as staff, tenants or manual workers, from potential hurt or injury.
All relevant rules and regulations for PAT testing can be found in the Electricity at Work Regulations1989, e.g. 'So far as reasonable practical, all electrical systems must at all times be of a such construction as to prevent harm or danger to a person or persons using it or around it.' So with this in mind it just prudent to arrange for all your electrical tools and appliances be tested on a regular basis and marked accordingly with the correct sticker carrying the relevant dates of test on.
Whether you have a small business or a growing empire it makes sense to instruct an external electrical testing firm such as Acorn Electrical & Mechanical (AEM) to look after all your electrical appliance PAT testing needs as our professionals are well experienced with the ability to spot signs of wear before it becomes a danger or problem.
There currently is no specific law detailing how frequently you must perform a PAT test to your appliances, but it’s prudent to perform a visual check annually. This involves inspecting the casing, for cracks or damage, enveloping the electrics inside the appliance. Identifying any frayed or loose wiring, and plugs are in good condition and not split or cracked. Once this has been carried out our PAT testing professional can offer recommendations for repairs to safeguard all appliances are functioning safely and correctly.
We have a number of professional electricians who are qualified PAT testing specialists. They can carry out inspections, checks and testing on a number of different appliances using our PAT testing equipment. It will identify any problems or issues such as, lead polarity, earth continuity or insulation resistance and notify the technician accordingly whether it has passed or failed.
This process is painless, quick and simple giving a simple pass or fail result. From then it’s just a matter of determining what repairs are necessary to make the appliance safe so it passes. After testing each appliance is marked with a barcoded safety label so it can be identified in future testing.
PAT testing regulations
By complying with all current PAT testing regulations will safeguard your businesses appliances ensuring all portable tools and appliances are safe to use preventing your business from committing any violations. Five sections of legislation regarding PAT testing were introduced to ensure that all businesses would comply with them.
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
Irrespective of who the employer is or the number of staff there, everyone and every person in the working area has a duty of care to ensure that the work space environment is a safe place to be for visitors, themselves and others.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
All electrical equipment must be maintained so that it will not inflict injury or harm to any person using it. The regulations apply to all electrical systems not only to the electrical appliance but also the source of power too.
The Health, Safety & welfare at Work Regulations 1992
To assure a working environment remains safe from faulty electrical appliances, the above legislation requires a business to carry out periodic regular maintenance checks to all electrical appliances and equipment so as to safeguard they function correctly.
The Provision & use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
This regulation enforces that it is the employer’s duty to safeguard all electrical appliances and equipment at the workplace be correctly maintained and functioning properly.
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
This is the latest regulation to be applied to PAT testing. It holds the employer responsible to correctly assess the workplace and its conditions as far as Health & Safety for all staff are concerned. Also the employer must assess the risk to visitors coming into the workplace such as clients or customers.
All of these regulations are classified as 1 of 3 categories.
When all 3 categories are combined common sense tells you that PAT testing is the only method in staying compliant with all rules and regulations.
It is mandatory for all companies and employers to correctly maintain all their portable appliances to ensure they are safe to use. The only way this can be achieved is through PAT testing the appliance and inspecting the appliance to ensure it functions correctly.
It is also mandatory for landlords and even self-employed persons to ensure all their electrical portable appliances are in good working condition, regularly maintained, safe to use and are suitable for the intended purpose they will be used for.
These specific guidelines have been introduced to ensure that all portable electrical equipment remains safe and protected via inspections, testing and maintenance on a regular basis. Nothing lasts forever and this is also true about electrical equipment so it’s essential your electrical equipment is inspected and tested regularly so it remains safe to use.
Any portable electrical equipment that carries a PASSED PAT tested label and it’s within date is deemed as safe to use. Current legislation considers that any competent person can carry out this test along with a visual inspection in addition to a qualified PAT tester. A competent person is identified as having the correct amount of knowledge and experience assuring they can test and check the appliance correctly and safely. Persons having experience with electrics and knowledge of electricity are generally ruled as capable.
It is important that all landlords, employers, business, companies and the self-employed comply with the regulations and guidelines to safeguard themselves and others making the work place a safe area to be. PAT testing can be contracted to an external source such as us, or individuals can achieve a qualification and certification by completing the necessary courses so they can carry out testing themselves.
PAT testing machines
When looking to purchase a PAT testing device you will want to be able to fully understand the type of device you require to suit your specific needs you require it for. There is a variety of PAT testing devices on the market ranging from just the basic models to a top spec professional system.
The Basic – A basic model will allow you to carry out approximately 300 or so tests and will not have any download capabilities.
The Mid Range – A mid range model can be used as a basic model or at a professional level as it offers a number of functions.
The Professional – A professional model has a memory function to save test results and can provide downloading capabilities. Professional PAT testing organisations and companies use these models regularly.
PAT testing machines will vary in cost from approximately £300 for a basic cheap machine to over £2500 for a full loaded professional machine. So its better in the long run to outsource this task to a qualified company like us who already have professional machines.
Budget PAT testing
When searching for a company to carry out your PAT testing budget is always important. We can tailor design a package to suit your requirements from only just a handful of devices to a number of sites or a large complex. It’s important to stay in budget but also remember not to skip when safety is involved. If you are offered a cheap service ensure it’s just the cost that is cheap and not the service they provide. If they are too cheap you run the risk that they are not experienced and they will be frugal in their duties and not carry out the testing correctly that may result in a non compliance violation on your shoulders.
If your ever unsure ask to see qualifications, we are happy to provide you with all necessary insurances, certificates and qualifications on request and if a company refuses don’t use them. PAT testing is purely for safety reasons protecting your home, business or place of work and not just to comply with current legislation.
If your not comfortable outsourcing this service your other option is to study so as to obtain the correct certification and qualify so you can carry out your own PAT testing while staying within current regulations. However, this will stop you from carrying other important duties that potentially could earn you a lot more profit.
PAT testing certificates
Once a portable electrical appliance has been PAT tested and past, the business owning that appliance will be issued with a PAT testing certificate to prove they are complying with all rules and regulations regarding the regular testing and inspection of their portable equipment to identify and damage so minimising risk. Only technicians deemed competent to carry out PAT testing are able to issue these certification templates. The information on the certificate will have all the details on every appliance tested and whether it past or failed. Once tested a label will be stuck to the appliance to also show if past or failed.
It will also state the name and address of the technician PAT tester along with his or her signature, the address where the testing was carried out and the date of expiry which is usually 6 months or 12 months from date of test. PAT testing forms are only supplied to registered approved contractors with NICEIC and ECA.
A PAT testing certification will not have exact specific details of every piece of equipment tested. This information will be contained within the detailed report. It’s just proving they are complying with rules and regulations.
PAT testing is important and there can be serious consequences if you fail to have these tests carried out. You insurance premium may increase or worse you could be held liable should and accident happen involving an untested portable appliance within your premises.
IT equipment PAT testing
PAT testing does not only apply to portable equipment. IT equipment such as monitors, computers and printers also require testing on a regular basis ensuring they are safe to use as they age with time passing as faulty equipment can potentially cause serious injury.
We have qualified competent technicians who are trained in Pat testing IT equipment. This should be carried out at every 12 months as a minimum but larger items such as photocopiers can often be inspected and tested less often. The most convenient time to action these tests is usually out of normal working hours when there is no staff around and the equipment can easily be closed down without causing any disruption to your everyday business. A visual inspection is first carried out to spot any obvious defects.
At the end of the day it’s the proprietors decision to have the business IT equipment inspected and tested. Legislation and regulations encourage it as a standard part of your annual routine maintenance and its important to adhere to these regulations to stay compliant. The statistics of people killed or injured each year from using faulty electrical equipment is on the increase. Don’t be a part of this statistic - call us now and stay safe.
How often should I PAT Test?
There is no legislation in place saying how often you should perform this. Its left to common sense and by performing it on regular basis means you will stay safe and compliant. As different situations incur different measures or factors its difficult to set and exact frequency time period that this test should be carried out. It’s up to the proprietor to determine the right time the inspections and testing is performed.
Common factors to determine PAT testing frequencies
Recommendations for PAT testing time periods
Schools & Colleges – Class 1 equipment and needs to be PAT tested every 12 months. Class 2 equipment and needs to be PAT tested every 48 months.
Hotels, Shops & Offices – Class 1 equipment with IT equipment and stationary needs to be PAT tested every 48 months. Portable equipment such as extension leads needs to be PAT tested every 24 months. Handheld devices need to be PAT tested every 12 months.
Construction industry – All 110-volt equipment used on site need to be PAT tested every 3 months
Industrial industry – All sites industrial such as commercial kitchens need to have there handheld and portable equipment PAT tested every 6 months. Movable equipment such as extension leads, IT equipment and stationary equipment need to be PAT tested every 12 months.
Equipment use by the Public – Stationary, IT equipment such as monitors and computers need to be PAT tested every 12 months. Portable handheld devices and movable items falling into Class 1 need to be PAT tested every 6 months.
Health & Safety Regulations
By regularly performing PAT testing can endorse safety within the working environment. It’s a well-known fact that roughly 25 to 30 people a year are seriously injured or worse killed due to coming in contact with an electric current. PAT testing will reduce the risk of serious injury ensuring you keep your employees safe and you comply with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) PAT testing regulations ISO9000/1 along with BS5750
By far the top reason for complying with HSE PAT testing regulations and guidelines is to deliver protection for you and your business reducing the risk of injuries to those coming into contact with your portable appliances and potential law suits against you or your business.
How much will it cost?
Costs can vary depending on the amount of appliances you need testing but in general its £1.00 to £2.00 per item tested. We can tailor make you a package dependant on the number of portable appliances you need testing. The more you have to lower end of the scale you will pay. If you only have around 10 items you will incur a PAT testing callout fee. We also offer a package for 100 appliances so to be sure give us a call on 01752 201077 where a member of our staff will be happy to help you.
Once we have carried out all necessary tests we will issue you with a PAT Testing Certificate to provide you with prove of compliance with HSE PAT testing regulations and prove you have a safe working environment for you and your staff. You will get a soft copy date file of all test results and a list of all appliances that have passed and appliances that have failed and need repair along with their serial numbers to allow for efficient tracking of the broken appliance in the future.
Steps To Take When PAT testing
You first must determine if an appliance qualifies as both electronic and portable.
A simple way of doing this is:
Electronic – Has a lead that plugs into a socket
Portable – If it can be rolled or carried to another location easily
It’s prudent to keep a list of all your items in your work place along with a risk assessment on each item.
By carrying out a risk assessment of your business you can analyse the probability of an accident happening and will provide you with the frequencies in performing checks and testing to your appliances. When inspecting the work environment where appliances are used, a basic evaluation of risk can be calculated.
Example – When using a photocopier in an office workplace is relatively low compared to someone using a bench circular saw in a joiners shop where there are spray adhesives, paints and other staff with solvents creating a much higher risk.
Once your risk assessment to each item on your list has been carried out you can construct a test plan or schedule. High-risk items will require more frequent testing than low risk items. Some things may go 5 years without testing and others may require it every 12 months. Get a plan together and set the necessary dates on your calendar and stick to it. Also ensure you tell customers, clients and all staff to immediately report any appliance or equipment they see or find broken or faulty so as it can be repaired. Keep a log of all equipment and dates they were tested. This will also act as prove you take care of your equipment and are staying compliant with regulations if a query arises with a regulator who unexpectedly calls.
Why Choose Acorn Electrical & Mechanical
We are based in Plymouth Devon so we cover the complete South West. We have a team of skilled electricians who are passionate about their work and have been doing it for over 15 years.
Our team offers:
Please feel free to call us for help or advice.
If you are interested in booking a survey for any of our services or just a safety check, please contact Acorn Electrical & Mechanical (AEM) and a member of our team will be happy to help or advise you. CALL now on 01752 201077 or 07779 777965