Why PAT Testing is important
One of the biggest problems in any workplace is the use of portable electrical equipment. Referred to as portable appliances, electrical equipment fitted with a plug presents a high risk of becoming damaged and thus dangerous.
Portable appliances include any electrical appliances that can be plugged in and include computers, kettles, toasters, heaters, hair driers, power tools, etc.
Considered the main problem with portable appliances is that they have a flexible insulated electric cable, which is used to connect it to the plug and aid its movement, that can easily become damaged. Additionally not all cables are secured to the appliance, and are plugged into it themselves.
As you may already know, a high proportion of electric shock accidents in the workplace involve portable appliances. Here are just a few reasons for this:
- Using inappropriate equipment for the job
- Using inappropriate equipment for the environment
- Overloading extension leads
- Adding to or ‘daisy chaining’ extension leads, potentially overloading them
- Misuse of appliances, such as running cables under carpets and furniture, where the insulation can become damaged
- Using the flex to pull the plug out of the socket
- Trapping cables in doors and drawers
- Allowing incompetent people to carry out repairs
- Allowing poor repairs to take place, such as the use of insulation tape
- Allowing incompetent people to test equipment, such as cheapest bidding ‘sticker jockeys’
- Continuing to use defective equipment
- Failing to regularly inspect, test and or maintain electrical equipment.
Portable equipment can be problematic, whether its in your kitchen, office or workshop, even your laptop and phone chargers present a risk. If you are not aware of the hazards and or you don’t implement measures to control them you may be exposing yourself, employees and other users to the risk of an electric shock.
If you don’t take preventative measures to maintain safe electrical appliances you will find that before too long the appliance will deteriorate.
A deteriorated appliance, not repaired, presents a real danger to human life.
To ensure your equipment doesn’t become dangerous you need to implement a preventative maintenance programme including regular inspections and testing of your equipment.
The aim is to test and repair appliances before they develop a fault, so regular checks should be carried out, appropriate to the risks associated with the appliance and its use.
These regular inspections need to include repairs to defective appliances, or replacement of any that are beyond repair (or removal from use).
Records should be kept of inspections, maintenance, tests and repairs to show that you’re taking appropriate measures and flag up any trends.
The main electrical problem in any workplace is portable appliances; appliances are moved frequently and so easily damaged, easily tampered with and difficult to keep track of.
Deciding how often to test your appliances can also be quite tricky as there are so many factors to consider; in fact this being such an arduous task is one of the main reasons why so many businesses get appliances tested annually.
Portable Appliance Testing information
Our PAT testing service gives you peace of mind that your electrical appliances are safe, and will continue to be safe as long as we are regularly checking them, leaving your mind free to concentrate on the things that matter most to you.
- We do thorough visual inspections
- We test appliances that need tests
- We maintain equipment through repairs
- We recommend further action when needed
Why PAT test?
In order to comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations (among others) you are required to ensure that all electrical equipment provided for use at work or in work places is safe for use. You need to regularly inspect, test and maintain electrical appliances to ensure they always maintain safe standards. The most recognised and reliable process for confirming an appliance is safe is referred to as portable appliance testing, or PAT testing as it is more conveniently known.
Portable Appliance Testing, a process including a visual inspection by a competent engineer, and tests carried out using a PAT testing meter, comes under the umbrella of inspection and testing of electrical systems, that also includes fixed appliance testing, and fixed wire testing; both of these should be done by a suitably qualified electrician. Although most PAT specialists are not time-served electricians; this doesn’t mean they’re not as good, far from it – many PAT engineers know more about appliance safety than their electrician colleagues because they’re working with appliances every day.
The PAT test should be carried out on all powered appliances, by a competent person with the appropriate knowledge and experience.
The tests required are dependent on the appliance being tested, and its use, which may include just an inspection, or an inspection plus tests to check for earth continuity, insulation resistance and polarity. Any issues that arise should be repaired; the PAT tester will be able to repair and or replace the plug and fuse, and the existing cable. Repairs to the appliance may need additional specialist involvement, but the engineer will be able to advise of necessary action.
Why DRA PAT Testing?
Peace of mind of working with a local independent business, easily contactable
We’re a small team. so you get a consistent, high standard of service every time
Appointments available 24/7 to minimise disruption to your business
Replacement plugs and fuses supplied free
Repairs to existing plug and lead included
Unique ID numbers for each appliance directly relates to the provided report
HSE recommend test frequencies recommended
Information and images of failed appliances
PAT testing Certificates issued promptly as PDF
Automatic reminder service for retests
The tests carried out are checking the internal function of the appliance safety measures such as earthing and insulation.
How often tests are to be carried out depends on a risk assessment being carried out by you or the engineer taking various factors into consideration. Whoever does it remember this – in the eyes of the law you, as a duty holder for the business, are responsible if an accident occurs – it is for this reason that a lot of businesses still get equipment tested annually; as it gives them peace of mind that regular maintenance is being carried out, reducing the chances of an accident occurring.
We do you portable appliance testing for you
Electrical equipment provided for use in any workplace should always be safe, not just for the good of the user, but to comply with Health and Safety regulations. Regular portable appliance testing (also known as PAT testing) is regarded as the best method to ensure safety levels are maintained.
PAT Testing in Newcastle upon Tyne and throughout Tyne and Wear
All appliances will be tested in-situ; there is no need for you to be moving equipment, we’ll work around you, crawl under desks if necessary whilst doing our best to minimise disruption to you and your team.
We understand that you may not want the hassle of appliance testing, or even know why you’re getting it done, but we’ll do our best to help you understand whilst taking away the pain with a painless process, that doesn’t include unnecessary tests. We’ll manage things moving forward for you, putting in place HSE recommended re-test periods, meaning no more annual visits when they’re not needed, and help you improve safety at work by carrying out necessary repairs and recommending improvements.
We like to work with our clients, build rapport and help them long term; most of our clients have been with us for 2 years or more – some since we started.
If you work from home, or do a job like a mobile disco or entertainer, we can help you too – we’ll come to your home and test your equipment on your kitchen table if necessary!
We also do regular work for Landlords and letting agents, checking appliances provided as part of the tenancy agreement continue to be safe.
When our job is done, we’ll download the results and present them to you in a neat document which we supply as a PDF via email, including itemised results for each appliance, separated into locations and a PAT testing certificate.
To enhance the service we can offer you just that little bit further, if we need to change a broken plug or put in the correct fuse we won’t charge you to do it; we’ll check microwave ovens aren’t leaking excessive emissions and take thermal images of servers (and other equipment) that can’t be unplugged.
How often is a PAT test required?
As the duty holder you are responsible for ensuring electrical equipment is safe to be used
Getting appliances PAT tested regularly is important to ensure safety and compliance is maintained.
Whilst the HSE gives guidance on how often an appliance should be tested, many companies get equipment tested annually because they don’t have any other forms of maintenance in place, thus giving peace of mind that appliance faults should be kept to a minimum.
What needs a PAT Test?
Appliances that require a PAT test should be (or be intended to be) portable from the main electricity supply by being unplugged from the socket.
This could be any appliance with any type of plug; it should also include appliances intended to have a plug on that can’t be accessed or unplugged.
Appliances wired directly into the mains should only be tested by persons with the right knowledge and training, such as a qualified electrician.
Different types of inspections and tests that you can use on portable appliances:
- User checks: You should get staff to check appliances before using them to make sure there are no obvious signs of damage
- Formal Visual Inspections*: These inspections verify that an appliance appears safe, including opening the plug to check inside, checking the full length of the cable, appliance protection guards and seals etc.
- Combined inspections and testing*: A visual inspection is important but the biggest problem with it is as its visual it cannot see faults inside the appliance or cable; for that a portable appliance test meter is needed. The machine runs tests appropriate to the appliance to check for internal faults.
*Only a competent person should carry out formal visual inspections, and combined inspections and testing