DRA PAT Testing Ltd

Give the best advice on PAT Testing Frequency 

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We’ve have over 80 5 Star Google reviews for PAT Testing

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Jackson Hogg Recruitment (Newcastle) logo
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Chris Ames, General Manager

These guys were recommended to us and they came in recently to do the PAT Testing. The service was first class and report very professionally presented in an easy to understand format. It is rare I give 5 stars in a review however in this case it is thoroughly deserved and would recommend DRA PAT Testing Limited to any organisation ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Efa Owens, Acquisition Manager

Excellent, friendly and efficient service. We have a lot of staff that work flexibly and Richard was happy to pop back at a later date to test their equipment which we hadn’t initially mentioned. Would recommend DRA to any organisation that needs appliance testing carried out. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Julie Dixon, Company Secretary

We are very impressed with your service, everything very professional and as you promised. As a small business we find it hard to find reliable companies to deal with, it makes a refreshing change to come across a company with similar ideals to us  – a fair job at a fair price with pleasant employees and proper paperwork! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

PAT testing Frequency

Nothing causes more confusion among our clients than PAT testing frequency. We get many new clients telling us that they know their equipment doesn’t need testing, or only needs doing every 5 years, but in most cases they’re wrong. The guidance on pat testing frequency is misleading and overly complicated. We find the best guidance is given by the HSE, although even then it is complicated. Health and Safety at Work suggest you get a risk assessment done to determine the best intervals and whilst this is a good plan, it may not be necessary. Most equipment can be tested on an ongoing basis based on the general risk of the working environment, such as a low risk office probably only needs its equipment testing every couple of years. 

How often should electrical equipment be tested?

We use office equipment as our default frequency, as it is simple and everyone understands what it means. Office equipment is the likes of computers, printers, copiers and other appliances in an office like lamps and radios. As a general rule we recommend getting these tested every 2 years, or testing initially, inspecting after 2 years, then testing again 2 years later. 

If you work of that as low risk, then extra low risk will be appliances that move even less, and have less chance of being damaged such as fixed equipment, integrated kitchen appliances and server systems. As long as you know they were installed correctly, and have not been recalled then they should be ok for another year or two. 

If you go the other way, a slightly higher risk may be office equipment used by the students in a school; as they’re less likely to look after the kit as well as their teachers, for example. 

Also consider equipment that is moved more often like portable kitchen appliances, or hand-held equipment in cafe’s, supported living etc. These perhaps should be tested annually. 

Higher risk equipment could include power tools in a factory which should be tested more often too; but we would consider the risks on site before proposing a frequency for these, which could be 12-months, or less time. 

These figures are a general guide only; you should always get us to view your site, assess it and test equipment before putting a pat testing frequency period in place. 

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All you need to know about PAT Testing Frequency

What we have forgotten about PAT testing frequency wasn’t worth knowing, and what we know about it makes your life a lot easier! 

How often electrical equipment needs PAT testing is a question people ask all the time, often for the wrong reasons – it’s not about how much money you can save. 

If you concentrate solely on saving money then you’re going to get punished later on for something else. 

With electrical equipment, electrical wiring, or anything else electrical your safety and the safety of other users must come first, because one mistake could kill! 

Take into account the risks associated with the appliance, its use and the environment and you will easily be able to determine a suitable frequency between tests for the appliance. 

PAT Test Electrical Appliances

When we PAT Test electrical appliances we do a thorough inspection of the plug, fuse, lead and appliance followed by tests dependent on the appliance construction, such as whether it needs earth protection or is double insulated. All electrical equipment that operates off mains power requires regular tests to confirm it is continuing to be safe. 

How often do I need PAT testing done?

PAT testing needs to be done as often as a risk assessment recommends… that’s what the guidance says. You or another competent person should carry out an electrical / fire prevention risk assessment on all electrical appliance types and determine what maintenance is required and what risks could arise from the use of the appliance. We can do this for you too. 

To make the process easier the Health and Safety Executive offer excellent guidance on retest periods based on environment types; for example equipment on a building site should be tested every 3 months; whilst stationery equipment in an office only needs a test every 4 years. 

When you get your PAT testing done by us we will automatically assess your risks, and recommend appropriate intervals for you; saving you the hassle. 

But how often is PAT testing required by law?

Sorry but there isn’t a straight answer for this one; we wish there was – it would make our job much easier! It comes down to a risk assessment every time. 

How long does a PAT test last?

When you get the MOT done on your car, you can drive it away having successfully passed then on the way home your headlight goes off.. that would have been a failure a few minutes earlier. And if the Police spot you driving at night they may stop you and give you a ticket. You are now responsible for getting the fault fixed and should get the MOT done again, although few of us actually do as it is not a legal requirement. 

It’s the same with PAT testing – you get the PAT done on your appliance, let’s say an electric drill; it passes and gets a pass label put on. You start using it again, and accidentally catch the cable with the drill bit and cut through it. It’s no longer safe and needs repairing; so you repair it. As an employer or self employed person, or even an employee you are responsible for health and safety, and are required to do a ‘user check‘ on an appliance before use. If the lead is damaged you should not use it and get it repaired by a competent person. Covering it in insulation tape is not acceptable. 

After the repair it should get tested again, because in this case the lead will have had to be cut back and a new plug fitted, or the lead replaced fully, so the existing PAT test results are no longer valid; but not many people do this as it is not a legal requirement. 

So, how long does a PAT test last? It is over as soon as it is over; it doesn’t have an expiry. It is only really valid at the time it is done, although we can assume if an appliance is tested, passes, then never moves or gets damaged in any way, the chances of a defect occurring are very low, so it should be ok to continue using until the recommended retest period. Its because of this supposed grey area that many get tested annually because that seems the obvious choice, although generally not the most appropriate. 

How do we determine the risk?

The environment an appliance is used in is actually what is taken into account the most; most guidance tables you’ll find focus on the environment, because this is what people can most easily relate to. For example, an office is likely much safer than a building site – the office is low risk, whilst the building site is high risk. 

In an office a computer on a desk never moves, so it is very low risk, so does it need testing every year? No. Maybe every 2-4 years. However power tools on a site get bashed around, they get wet and muddy, so they need testing a lot more often – every 3 months is the norm, with inspections every month and before each use by the user. 

However, sometimes the user has to be consider too – a school is a fairly safe environment so you’d say the school is low risk; but children have a habit of breaking things, so the risk goes up, probably not up to high risk, but certainly medium – but is all equipment medium risk? No, because staff tend to look after their equipment better. So all the office equipment for example, could be low risk. This means in a school the office equipment may only need testing every 2-3 years, whilst the equipment in classrooms should be tested annually. But the risk is probably higher than annual so there is a reliance on the teachers to check and report any faults that arise in the mean time. 

These are just examples, but are factors that need to be taken into account. 

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What our customers say about us

121 Free Index Reviews
66 Google Reviews
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Always had excellent service from Richard at DRA; he’s looked after our rental properties for years now. Always turns up on time and does a great job. Highly recommend him! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Keith, Landlord, April 2020
Accruent office pat test

We always use DRA Electricals for our office. I would highly recommend these guys to any business. Very professional service and friendly! Thanks guys ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Georgia, Accruent, March 2020
Premier plating industrial equipment

We are very impressed with your service, everything very professional and as you promised. As a small business we find it hard to find reliable companies to deal with, it makes a refreshing change to come across a company with similar ideals to us  – a fair job at a fair price with pleasant employees and proper paperwork! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Julie, Premier Plating, March 2020
Nigel Wright recruitment logo - an office based business in Newcastle upon Tyne

Richard and his team completed our appliance testing last week in lightning speed; punctual, polite, great value and very efficient – I highly recommend DRA Electricals. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Debs, Nigel Wright Recruitment, January 2020
pat testing Wallsend client baltic mortgages pat testing Wallsend client Jackson Hogg

Excellent, friendly and efficient service. We have a lot of staff that work flexibly and Richard was happy to pop back at a later date to test their equipment which we hadn’t initially mentioned. Would recommend DRA to any organisation that needs appliance testing carried out. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Aoife, Jackson Hogg, January 2020
Dacon fabrication gateshead team valley

These guys were recommended to us and they came in recently to do the PAT Testing. The service was first class and report very professionally presented in an easy to understand format. It is rare I give 5 stars in a review however in this case it is thoroughly deserved and would recommend DRA PAT Testing Limited to any organisation ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Chris, Dacon Fabrication, October 2019

PAT Testing Frequency

PAT Testing frequency: how often you should get pat testing done should be determined by a risk assessment being conducted on the appliance and the environment in which it is being used. 

However that is a complicated process and most of the time the frequency can be estimated based on HSE guidance. For example; electrical appliances in an office should need testing every 2-4 years depending on the set up in the office, whilst 110v equipment on a building site should be tested every 3 months. 

When should PAT testing be done and how often should you pat test?

PAT testing should be done initially and then it should be done as often as is necessary to maintain safe equipment. These are not questions easily answered in a short answer on a website, but can be easily answered after we have seen your site, and tested your equipment so the first thing to do is book us to do your initial testing. 

We make our recommendations after we have tested your site, and then the assessment is fluid and subject to change. For example if we deem it low risk, wait 2 years to test again, then have a lot of failures, the risk will change to medium, and so testing will need to be done more often. 

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How often should you get PAT testing done?

PAT testing should be completed as often as is necessary depending on the risks associated with the equipment use, and the environment it is being used in. We can assess this and guide you into what would be the most appropriate frequency for your business when we do your testing. When you do a risk assessment you must always consider your insurance policy as that may insist on annual testing, but as a general rule the following usually applies:

  • Equipment that never moves in an office like a server or fixed appliance should be tested every 5 years
  • Other office equipment such as computers should be tested every 2 years (at most)
  • Equipment in a factory or workshop should be tested every year
  • And tools used on a building site should be tested every 3 months

Electrical equipment must be maintained to stay safe; it needs checking through inspection and testing on a regular basis to make sure it stays safe. How regular that is depends on an assessment of the risks. That should be done by performing a risk assessment however you can benefit from our experience; in most environments we can recommend frequencies that the HSE would be content with. 

For example, most environments get appliances tested annually, but that may be too often; when did you last check? We actually recommend that a low risk environment gets its equipment tested every 2 years, rather than every year. 

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Do a risk assessment to determine PAT testing frequency

In order to comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations you need to do a risk assessment for all electrical equipment in your workplace; this must include everything from battery operated equipment right up to extra high voltage if you have that. 
That risk assessment will tell you what needs testing, if it needs testing, how often and who by. 
Not all appliances should be tested by a PAT testing company; some such as the really high voltage stuff should only be tested by someone with high voltage qualifications; and mains wiring should only be tested by a qualified electrician. 
As a PAT company we can help you with all electrical appliances up to 230volts that are on a plug or hard-wired, and single phase equipment up to 415 volts powered from an adaptor plug. We can also deal with three-phase equipment although you may prefer to use a high voltage expert for the 415 volts three-phase appliances. 
Your risk assessment needs to take into account the use of the equipment, the equipment classification and the environment it is used in. 
Are you competent? 

If you are not competent (don’t have the knowledge/skills) in electrical testing then you shouldn’t perform the risk assessment, and will need to use someone that is. We can do this for you, or you can invest in a health and safety consultant or fire risk assessor. 

You can check out what the HSE recommends here; although this is based on the perfect scenario and is not an exact match for any location. 

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 (sometimes) 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.

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.

Server Systems

Server systems are made up usually of IT equipment, and are stationery appliances, usually powered off a large surge protected socket extension, contained in a controlled ‘cage’ system. A server is usually monitored and maintained by a specialist engineer from an IT team; this should reduce the risk. 

Being stationery IT equipment, that is managed a server shouldn’t need testing as often as say a computer in an office, so it is generally accepted that a full test every 5 years is sufficient; although this should be every 5 years from install, not from the start of a PAT testing programme. 

If interim inspections are required, without unplugging the items there is little an engineer can do but look at what they can see; some companies will still label up each part, which isn’t totally wrong but some would question what they are actually doing. To enhance this, we have a thermal image camera; although not carried by all engineers we can arrange for this to be carried out to check for any overly hot spots in the system. 

Equipment used by the public

Equipment used by the public should be tested on an annual basis to make sure it is maintained in good condition – you should also make sure you inspect it regularly because a year is a long time and issues can occur in-between tests. 

Equipment used in Workshops

Equipment used in workshops can depending on the workshop come under more strain than normal so testing more often should be considered; particularly well maintained workshop equipment may not need testing as often as equipment that isn’t. Equipment that is allowed to remain covered in dirt, grease and grime will deteriorate faster so should be checked more often. 

Why Choose DRA PAT Testing?

We are an experienced local electrical testing company that specialises in inspecting, testing and maintaining safe electrical equipment. Our expertise ensures you get the best possible service every time.

There are no hidden charges, all of these come free and our service is recommended because it is simple but well managed.   

✅ Complimentary site survey if needed
✅ Free remedial repairs to the plug and cable
✅ Free replacement plugs and fuses
✅ Cable management (tidying & optimal plugging)
✅ Risk-based retest period guidance
✅ Ongoing improving safety support
✅ PAT Test Certificate Report with results by PDF
✅ Automatic reminders for retests