PAT testing in offices
If anyone asks us what our specialist area is we say “offices”; whilst we spend very little of our working lives sat at a desk, we spend a lot of it under the desk!
With a background in IT and office equipment we know a thing or two about safely testing electronic equipment in office environments, like computers and printers.
We can guide you on how to improve safety in your office such as looking at alternative solutions to eliminate daisy chaining of extension leads, and tidying up messy cables to give a cleaner, neater look to the office.
We are also best placed to guide you on how often the office equipment needs testing; most people still get their office tested every year but if you want to put risk assessments in place you could increase the time until the next tests.
Additionally if we do come across a fault we carry spare plugs, fuses and even IEC leads, so the chances of you being left unable to work are very small indeed. In fact we will do everything we can to minimise the disruption to your business and to improve the safety levels you currently operate at.
Office equipment such as computers, printers, kitchen appliances etc. can get faulty but the chances of that happening are much lower than in higher risk environments.
Most offices have a server system which terrifies the office manager when the PAT tester is in – worry no more; we don’t switch them off, nor do we insist on it. In fact, if it was safe when it was installed, it’s probably safer if we just leave it well alone. We have the option of a doing a thermal survey to find any unusual hot spots and can check the earth is functioning on the racks.
If you do want the server testing but don’t want the disruption we can work with you outside normal business hours to get this job done.
All we ask from you is for the odd cup of tea!
Electrical equipment needs unplugging to be tested so we are going to have to shut down your computers, but rest assured we’ll wait for you to do it! If you can then leave your desk area for about 10 minutes whilst we do what we need to do that’ll be really helpful. We need to test the computer, the monitor and the two detachable IEC leads. We also need to test the extension lead, if that is what they are plugged in to. If that extension lead also feeds another desk, we’ll need to do that one at the same time. If the extension lead is powered from another extension lead – we need to do that one too. If you have a lot of extension leads ‘daisy chained’ and overloaded we will recommend better options. If you cables are messy we’ll try to tidy them.
If you’re using laptops then it’s a little bit easier – we need the leads, not the laptop, so the user can pick up their laptop and go sit somewhere else for a few minutes.
More information is available on PAT Testing office equipment from the HSE in this guidance document.
In an office you’ll buy a new computer, put it on a desk, run the cables through a little hole into ‘trunking’ and connect them to a socket block or directly into a floor socket. You then won’t move that computer (in most cases) until you replace it.
If this sounds familiar, then the chances of that computer becoming defective are very slim so the risk analysis will be low.
When the PAT Tester comes along he’ll need to unplug the lead, pull it back up through the hole and disconnect it from the computer to test it – that has put more strain on the lead that it normally gets, so the risk assessment would show that PAT tests conducted too often would increase the risk so, there is argument to reduce the PAT testing frequency. So it is widely accepted that PAT testing computers could be done every 3-5 years and they’d still be safe to use.
It’s a similar story for printers, photocopiers, etc. Even some kitchen appliances fall into this category, such as the milk fridge and the microwave oven.