Do a risk assessment to determine PAT testing frequency
Workplace Health and Safety regulations require you to carry out a robust risk assessment to determine what preventative maintenance measures are required to ensure your electrical appliances remain safe to be used, and to determine how frequent your appliances require inspections and testing.
The risk assessment must be carried out by a competent person, taking into account the equipment type, use, user, environment, etc. The risk assessment must categorise each type of appliance and different use.
The risk assessment will determine what inspections are needed, what maintenance, what testing and how often.
You, as the duty holder for your company are responsible for doing this and for ensuring equipment maintains safety standards on an ongoing basis, so equipment is safe for continued use.
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.
We provide every client with a comprehensive PAT Testing Report including certificate, listing all appliances tested, the result and retest dates.
We also provide you with information on how you can improve electrical safety based on your use of equipment, if appropriate. We can carry out risk assessments for you.
Talk to us about the risks associated with your business and equipment.
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.