PAT Testing – Portable Appliance Testing – the facts
There are many scare-mongering tactics used by PAT testing companies in order to get sales, such as “you must get PAT Tested or you’re breaking the law” and “you must be PAT tested every year”, which we don’t agree with. We don’t operate in that way, nor do we employ sales people to call you. We know that when you need someone to help with your PAT testing needs then you will find us.
When we use the term PAT Testing it is for ease, we know it’s not the correct term but then it is the term everyone understands. The real phrase is Inspection and Testing of In-service Electrical Equipment but that’s a mouthful and no one knows what it means outside the industry.
The User Check should actually be done by the operator of the equipment, the visual inspection should be done that way too (and as a business you should keep a log of this but very few do); the Formal Visual Inspection (FVI) and the Combined Inspection and Test (AKA PAT) should be done by the PAT Testing Engineer.
The HSE does say that simple and sensible precautions need to be taken to prevent danger from portable or movable electrical equipment in the workplace, whether that be a low risk environment or a high risk one.
Nearly a quarter of all reportable electrical accidents involve portable appliances, the vast majority of these incidents involve electric shock.
The term PAT test isn’t used as strongly within the industry as it is outside because it’s not just portable appliances that need checking; it’s any electrical appliance fitted with a plug whether portable or not.
The Law says that “you must maintain electrical equipment if it can cause danger, but the law (Electricity at Work Regulations 1999) does not say how you must do this and how often“, however, the HSE does give clear guidance on this via their document INDG236 (rev2). This document reveals that the only equipment that doesn’t need a PAT test in some form is battery operated or extra low voltage equipment. So all those people that say “we don’t need a PAT test” are wrong.
The following equipment all need either a formal visual inspection or combined inspection and testing (PAT): desktop computers, monitors, photocopiers, fax machines, double insulated equipment such as lamps and fans, earthed appliances such as kettles, floor cleaners and kitchen equipment, cables and leads. These are just a few examples of equipment that does require Inspections and/or PAT testing.
Want to find out more about PAT Testing? View our PAT Testing A to Z here