Risk based PAT Testing frequencies

Risk based PAT Testing frequencies2019-06-17T05:08:02+00:00
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Risk Based PAT Testing Frequencies

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Something that sets us out away from our competitors is that provide you with a bespoke (to you) PAT testing service, based on the risks associated with your equipment and their use – this is unique to your circumstances. Whereas most of our competitors like you to fit in with them, providing a one-size-fits all service we understand that you will differ to another client, and will have different needs, so we look to work with you to provide the best solution for you.

For some of our clients the best solution is the simple option – they just want their equipment testing, paperwork provided and it repeating as often as possible so they have as little as possible to do; that’s why most people opt for annual PAT tests.

Other clients see the benefit of making the most of the HSE’s recommended intervals between tests; the HSE recommends PAT testing frequencies based on a risk assessment, and even provides guidance on what those frequencies should be. If you put a risk assessment in place there is no reason why you can’t make the most of this benefit.

However, risk based intervals are not best for everyone, because it may mean some equipment being tested more than every 12 months. 

The options are long, so rather than us trying to cover every option here why don’t you speak to us about it, or check out the HSE pages and documents on the subject. 

The importance of deciding whether to put a risk based system in place, or to get equipment tested annually is because UK workplace and work equipment regulations make you responsible for ensuring electrical equipment is safe. Even if you contract the work to us, that responsibility for the job being done right and as often as is necessary remains yours. 

We provide a service where we assess the risks associated with the portable appliances you’re using, and the environment they are being used in and recommend the most appropriate frequencies for retests. 

We are also able to provide full risk assessment documentation to support our recommendations if required, for additional fees of course (created by an independent health and safety consultant who will attend your site). 

We also manage the retest periods for you, and adjust them as necessary. We keep you informed and remind you with plenty of time when due dates are approaching. We also provide advice on how you could improve electrical safety. 

However, for ease, if you take your appliances to other venues, then getting appliances tested annually should be the maximum term you consider as equipment actually falls under ‘hire agreements’ and should be at least visually inspected every time it is taken out. 

We provide every client with a comprehensive PAT Testing Report including certificate, listing all appliances tested and their results. 

We also provide you with information on how you can improve electrical safety based on your use of equipment, if appropriate. 

PAT Testing Frequency discussed in more detail

To comply with health and safety fully appliances need checking by the user before they are used (called a User check), then visually inspected by a competent person at regular intervals, and then less often, inspected and tested by a more competent person, such as a PAT engineer/PAT testing company. 

The first thing to understand is there is no specific legal requirement to test electrical appliances every X months or years, but you need to be able to prove that you’re taking suitable action to ensure equipment stays safe by testing regularly to ensure preventative maintenance. Based on an assessment of the risks it is possible to determine what needs to be done and how often it should be repeated in order to best maintain safety; this is providing other actions are taken in between times.

The reason that there is no set frequency is because different situations arise that call for different measures. There are a number of factors that affect PAT testing frequency and it is up to each individual to determine when testing should be carried out.

For example, if you get computers tested once every 5 years to save money but no one checks them in the mean time and someone has an accident, that is going to cost you a lot more money in fines; so that is not good practice.

Some companies still get appliances PAT Tested every year, and there is nothing wrong with that – some people will tell you that annual PAT tests keep on top of things, and is regarded as the best course of action to ensure equipment stays safe; whilst others say it’s unnecessary – it depends on the risks, and you, as after everything it is you as a business owner or employer that is responsible if an accident occurs. 

Regulations state that the level of precaution should be appropriate to the applicable risk

There are 3 main criteria to consider to determine the PAT testing frequency:

  • The risk level for the working environment
  • The electrical class of the appliance
  • The category of the appliance

The Health and Safety Executive also recommends taking the following into consideration:

  • manufacturers recommendations
  • the age of the equipment
  • the frequency of its use
  • the user of the equipment
  • the suitability for the use of the equipment in the environment
  • potential misuse of the equipment
  • effects of any modifications or repairs

In order to determine how often you should have your appliances tested, you should bear in mind these factors:

  • Equipment that is used/moved more often should be tested more frequently. This equipment is likely to suffer more damage than that used/moved infrequently.
  • If people using equipment report any damages as they become noticeable, and repairs are carried out, there is less chance of an accident occurring later. If equipment regularly receives damage or abuse that is not reported then inspections and testing are required more frequently – such as with power tools on building sites and in factories.
  • The type of equipment in question is a major factor in determining PAT testing frequency. Hand held appliances are more likely to become damaged than those that are stationary. Class 1 appliances carry the greatest risk of danger as they rely on earth AND insulation for safety, so should be tested more often to make sure both are still functional.

Frequencies recommended for health and safety

Although there are no requirements for PAT testing frequency, there are recommendations from the HSE:

Offices, Shops and Hotels* – equipment that rarely moves such as stationary and IT equipment should be tested every 48 months; with a formal inspection* after 24 months. Extension leads and other non-handheld equipment should be tested every 24 months; with a formal inspection* after 12 months. Handheld equipment should be tested every 12 months.

*Hotels – for bedroom equipment see public use

Schools* – All Class 1 equipment in schools should be PAT tested every 12 months. Class 2 equipment should be tested every 48 months; with a formal inspection after 24 months. 

*For staff office equipment see Offices, shops and hotels

Public Use Equipment – All equipment, except easily movable and hand-held should be tested every 12 months. Class 1 easily moveable and handheld Class 1 should be tested every 6 months.

Construction – All 110V equipment used on construction sites should be tested every 3 months.

Industrial & Commercial Kitchens – easily movable and Handheld equipment test every 6 months. All other equipment should be tested every 12 months.

The following are generalised and should not be taken as fact

For all environments Class 3 appliances may need a visual inspection, or may not need even that – the engineer would determine the best course of action

Guidance recommends that appliances that are tested, also receive a visual inspection at an interim period; as that involves unplugging an appliance and causing as much disruption as the test does we ask why don’t we test the appliance as well; can’t go wrong with extra checks. 

We categorise equipment based on its movement; a computer sat on a desk never moves; a kettle moves a lot, a microwave may not move much, a vacuum cleaner or a drill gets man-handled. 

Email us: info@draelectricals.co.uk
Call us: 01916661009