What is a PAT Testing (PAT)?
A PAT test is also known as:
- Portable Appliance Testing
- PAT testing
- Electrical Appliance Testing
Portable appliance testing (PAT) is the term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use. Many electrical safety defects can be found by visual examination but some types of defect can only be found by testing.
A formal visual inspection and testing by a competent person may also be required at appropriate intervals, depending upon the type of equipment and the environment in which it is used.
A PAT test involves a visual inspection to check the appliance casing and flex for wear or damage. Plugs are also checked for damage, correct wiring and ensuring that the correct fuse rating is used. After the equipment has passed a visual inspection it will undergo a series of electrical tests using a fully calibrated electrical PAT tester. A label will be attached to each appliance indicating the test results any item failing the tests will be easily identifiable and should be removed from service until repaired. Detailed test results are generated and compiled for each electrical appliance and stored in our database. An appliance register, certificate and detailed test results are provided and should be retained for future reference.
HT Compliance Services provide this service so you can meet your electrical duty holder duties.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) is a method of achieving this.
The person doing testing work needs to competent to do it. In many low-risk environments, a sensible (competent) member of staff can undertake visual inspections if they have enough knowledge and training. However, when undertaking combined inspection and testing, a greater level of knowledge and experience is needed, and the person will need:
- the right equipment to do the tests
- the ability to use this test equipment properly
- the ability to properly understand the test results
The law simply requires an employer to ensure that their electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger. It does not say how this should be done or how often. Employers should take a risk-based approach, considering the type of equipment and what it is being used for. If it is used regularly and moved a lot e.g. a floor cleaner or a kettle, testing (along with visual checks) can be an important part of an effective maintenance regime giving employers confidence that they are doing what is necessary to help them meet their legal duties.
The law does not state that PAT testing must be carried out although it does state that the workplace must be electrically safe. Government guidelines state that PAT testing is the best way to ensure electrical safety. Some insurance companies will reject a claim should it be proven that a fire or accident occurred due to faulty electrical equipment that has not been properly maintained. The courts can also issue large fines or even imprisonment should a case be brought forward.