There is a lot of confusion surrounding “what needs PAT testing”, not just within the business community, but within our own industry too! That is mainly because there is no clear guidance, but mainly because there is an ongoing argument between the PAT testing and electrician communities… but you don’t need to be affected by that.
The UK’s national standards organisation, the Portable Appliance Testing Trade Association says that PAT testing should be carried out on electrical appliances that are powered by mains electricity that are fitted with a plug, that can be removed from the mains by unplugging from the socket.
This includes all different types of plug, including the standard 3-pin plugs we all use at home and work to plug in our computers, kettles and phone chargers as well as more specialised plugs such as the round pins used on lamps in hotels, AC/DC block adaptors, and connectors used on building sites and industrial equipment for 110v, 230v and 400v equipment.
However, it also says that one PAT tester should NOT be expected to be able to test every type of appliance. For example the 400v appliance is often 3-phase, and needs an extra degree of skill set most PAT testers do not have; not through any fault of their own but they’re usually not time served industrial electrical engineers. See our industrial pages for more information.
Just the same as the confusion around appliances that have had the plug removed and are now fitted to the mains via fused spur unit; some say that the PAT tester should be testing these, but unless he is competent to safely isolate and secure the power supply he definitely should NOT do this. We actually have staff who are trained to do this, but it does not happen automatically during the PAT test, as logistics do not allow it – we’d have to turn off your power supply, and it takes a lot longer to do so pricing is very different. See our Fixed appliance testing page for more information.
So what needs PAT Testing? Any electrical appliance fitted with a plug; any detachable power lead from an appliance and any “extension lead” used to provide the appliance with power. This includes kettles, toasters, computers, printers, phone chargers, tool chargers, vacuum cleaners, fridges and so on. Anything without a plug or where the plug is not accessible will need inspecting and maybe a test but the amount of anomalies in this mean it will be much easier if we raise it with you when we see it pop up rather than try to explain all the differences here.