This is the hardest question to answer; answered more easily when we see the job, or after.
PAT testing frequency causes many arguments and discussions but ultimately it comes down to this – how big the risk of the appliance getting damaged or used incorrectly, is?
If the appliance could get easily damaged, then it will need testing more often than something that won’t get much damage.
For example, a computer on a desk in an office, probably won’t get moved for a few years, so what’s the chances of it developing a fault? Not much. So it won’t need testing as often as a drill on a building site.
Why most people get annual PAT testing
Most people get PAT done annually because it’s preferred by insurers, accepted by Health and Safety, and usually the cheapest option.
Under Health and Safety at Work you are responsible for ensuring electrical equipment maintains safety standards; how often you do that is worked out by a competent person doing a risk assessment. The Assessment needs doing on every appliance type and working environment at your site; it can be quite extensive.
The assessment should show how often appliances need testing, how often they need inspecting and so on.
Or you can do what everyone else does who can’t be bothered to do that – just get it tested annually or based on our guidance.
In low risk environments like offices you could get a high proportion of your equipment done less often – PC and monitors that never move – the chances of them developing a fault are extremely small, so we may be able to put them on a 2-3 yearly frequency… but some equipment will need doing more often.
This is how we tend to do things…
Option 1: we retest everything every year
Option 2: we put appliances on a retest period based on HSE/IEE guidance periods with no risk assessments in place; different appliances/different environments on different frequencies and we manage that for you. There is an initial set up cost dependent on the size of the job.
Option 3: you do own risk assessments or get them done by someone else and tell us what equipment to test, and when.