What you need to do to maintain safe electrical equipment
It is important that you as a business owner or duty holder for the company are aware of what you are expected to do, to maintain safety against electrical risks.
This applies in principle to anyone managing or running a business of any kind, and in part, every employee is also responsible – we are all responsible for electrical safety/
You know electricity kills right? Of course you do, but do you know keeping people safe from dodgy electrical equipment is actually really easy to do.
1. Check your equipment before you use it
2. Get us in to PAT test it as often as is necessary to reduce the risks
That’s right, if you check your electrical equipment before you use it, and you get it PAT tested on a regular basis, the chances of an electrical accident occurring, dramatically reduce, possible even are removed altogether.
To remove the risk of an electrical accident, the best way, is to get PAT testing done as often as possible. Every year is widely regarding as an acceptable period between checks, but more often, or less frequent may be better for your equipment; some electrical appliances can get easily damaged, and others are less likely to, so this means there is no one size fits all option.
It’s actually widely considered, though, that in most cases, if you get equipment tested every year, and your PAT tester looks at more than just your appliances, and you do your own visual checks in-between, then you should be able to maintain a safe workplace.
Insurance companies tend to prefer annual frequencies, as do many regulatory bodies and it is considered best practice in most workplaces (except the really dirty or dangerous places).
The HSE on the other hand, don’t like to get drawn into telling you what to do so they advise you do a risk assessment.
Contrary to popular belief, not all appliances need testing, and not all need testing every year, but ALL appliances do require regular inspections by a competent, experienced person.
If your PAT tester doesn’t get his screwdriver out, and doesn’t open plugs to check inside, he is not doing what you are paying for.
You need to assess the risks
So HSE guidance recommends a risk assessment be carried out to determine what preventative maintenance measures need to be carried out, and how often that needs doing.
In most offices for example a risk assessment will say that most of your equipment is low risk – it sits on a desk for years and never moves, so the chances of a fault are slim, so you could do a test every 4 years with an inspection at 2 years. That would be acceptable. Some other equipment, that may move more often will need checking more often, so that could be done every 1 or 2 years. You may have field engineers with tools in their vans; they’ll need doing more often than that, probably. However, your insurer may expect an annual PAT test on your IT equipment, so check.
Your insurer will also want to see a risk assessment in the event of an investigation, so if you choose anything other than annual – do a risk assessment, in fact, do one anyway.
If you manage a building site however, then you need equipment checking a lot more often. Power tools get easily damaged, they get wet, and they’re prone to damage so they need a test every 3 months, and a monthly inspection! We can do the 3-monthly part but it may be worth training someone in-house to do the inspection.
Thorough Visual Inspections and PAT tests are needed
When we do our PAT tests, we inspect every appliance thoroughly; if there is a fault or damage to the plug, or cable, we repair it automatically, (if it’s the standard 13amp type plug this is done for free); if the fuse is wrong we change it, and if the plug is beyond repair we’ll replace that too, also for free.
If the cable is damaged, we’ll cut it back to a safe place and reattach the plug. If the cable needs replacing, if we can do it, we’ll quote you for that task.
If the appliance is beyond repair by us we will fail it; it’s possible a specialist engineer may be able to repair it, and if so, we will advise that action.
If we come across any other safety issues, such as overloaded extensions, and appliances being used incorrectly, we’ll report that to you and guide you what to do.
On completion we will send you your PAT Testing Certificate Report which logs all appliances and confirms they are safe, or if not, what to do with them.
If you think you need your appliances PAT Testing, or have any more questions email or call us.