What is Portable Appliance Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing is a process carried out to check electrical appliances are safe to use. A series of visual inspections by a competent PAT testing engineer followed by (when necessary) electrical tests, are carried out on electrical equipment to determine if the appliance is safe.

An appliance found to be faulty may be repairable by the engineer or another specialist but should be taken out of use until it has been repaired and thus deemed safe.

If it can’t be repaired when the PAT test is being done, it’ll be “failed”, and should not be used until it has been repaired; before it goes back into service it should be PAT tested again to ensure it is logged in the appliance register with the other equipment.

Electrical appliances have to be maintained to safe standards so that users don’t get an electric shock or so that the appliance doesn’t overheat and catch fire. As a user of electrical equipment at work you need the assurance that the equipment your employers provide is safe to be used. If the appliance has been PAT tested, you feel safer. This is a standard practice in the United Kingdom. Portable Appliance Testing is the process that is carried out to make sure electrical equipment that has a plug on (anything you plug in) is safe; and if not safe is either repaired or removed from use.

Most issues (defects) are found by a visual inspection by a competent person, i.e. the PAT tester (us) or a competent person from your workforce. When a defect is found it has to be repaired; a person needs to be competent to repair an electrical plug, cable or appliance. You as an employer or business owner, will need to enlist the help of a PAT testing company to carry out inspections and testing of your electrical equipment to make sure it’s safe.

We can help you set up an in-house system whereby a member of staff may be deemed competent to do visual inspections at set intervals, or train your staff on user-checks, and at appropriate intervals we come in and test your equipment. This makes up an Electrical Safety Maintenance Programme. Or we can manage the full process on your behalf. Either way we assess the risks so you are inspected and tested at appropriate intervals without unnecessary PAT tests being conducted, thus giving you value for money and peace of mind.

Portable Appliance Testing (also known as PAT Testing) is the most recognised method to check electrical equipment is SAFE to use.

You are legally required to ensure that all electrical equipment used at work (or for work purposes) is safe to use, so that it doesn’t put users at risk or its misuse lead to a fire. The best way to check this is through regular PAT testing.

The PAT tests should be carried out by a specialist company, as often as is necessary to ensure that safety continues. This could be as often as every 3-month for power tools on a building site to every 5 years for a IT server system in an office. We will work with you to ensure your electrical equipment is checked enough to stay safe.

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Reasons to choose DRA PAT Testing

  • We operate high standards at all times; every appliance is checked inline with the latest IET, HSE and PATTA guidance

  • Our engineers are experienced, well trained and are encouraged to take their time to ensure every appliance is maintained to a high standard

  • We provide you with a fully comprehensive, itemised, location separated PAT Testing Certificate Report within 5 days of the job.

  • We don’t have any hidden charges, and agree a fixed price with you before doing the job

  • We offer free site visits to discuss your needs and count your appliances before quoting for a job with higher numbers

We cover all of the North East of England so whether you are in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Teesside or North Yorkshire, we can help.

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Portable Appliance Testing Info

Firstly, lets clear up the confusions…

  1. Portable Appliance Testing and PAT testing are the same thing
  2. “Portable” means it can be unplugged
  3. A “portable” appliance is fitted with a plug that needs to be put into a socket to get power, or removed from a socket to cut the power
  4. Portable Appliance Testing (or PAT Testing) is a process carried out on electrical equipment fitted with a plug to make sure it is safe
  5. PAT testing is part of Inspection and Testing of Electrical Installations and Systems

Electrical appliances that were manufactured to have a plug, but have had the plug removed and been hard wired, also require testing, but they are now called “Fixed” appliances. Fixed appliances should only be tested by someone competent to do so, like an electrician or trained PAT testing engineer (not many PAT testers can test fixed appliances). Fixed appliances are not just appliances that used to have a plug but also appliances that were never intended to have a plug, like hand-driers in toilets. The PAT tester if competent to do so, will usually only test the fixed appliances that used to be portable. More Information on Fixed appliance testing is here. 

Is Portable Appliance Testing a Legal Requirement?

Many people say it’s not, but, it is. Portable Appliance Testing is a legal requirement IF you want to be able to prove your electrical equipment is safe. You are required by UK workplace law to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe to use, and the only way to do that is to get it PAT tested. The PAT test checks equipment is being used correctly, in the correct environment and is safe to use; it flags up maintenance needs, and in most cases the engineer will do the repair for you, and it helps you determine the risk factor of the appliance. Furthermore you are provided with records; the Portable Appliance Testing Certificate Report gives you the documentation you need to prove that your electrical equipment is safe to use, helping you comply with the regulations.

What does Portable Appliance Testing do?

Portable Appliance Testing…

  • Reduces the chances of an electric shock (by maintaining safe equipment)
  • Reduces the chances of an appliance overheating and catching fire (by making sure it’s used correctly)
  • Helps you comply with electrical regulations 

An incorrectly used appliance such as daisy chained socket blocks or overloaded socket blocks could lead to a fire; using an appliance not suitable for the working environment could lead to an accident and using a badly maintained appliance could lead to a user getting a shock. 

To get an electric shock off an appliance you have to come into contact with exposed conductive metal (metal that’s on the outside that’s also connected on the inside); in normal conditions this is perfectly fine but if there is a fault the part could become damaged – 

If an appliance has exposed metal then it’ll have measures in place to protect you such as earthing or double insulation

Just to confuse matters some appliances have metal used for effect or decoration that are not connected inside and won’t become live. 

An appliance fully double insulated with no exposed metal parts doesn’t require any tests but should be inspected visually for any damage. If it’s damaged you could come into contact with “live” metal parts and get a shock; so it’s important to regularly visually inspect the appliance. This must be done by a competent person; ideally the PAT tester but if you have a competent person in-house they could do it. 

All other appliances also require the visual inspection prior to any electrical tests being carried out; to protect the tester. 

An appliance that is double insulated with exposed conductive metal parts requires an insulation test to make sure the insulation is working correctly,  

An appliance that also relies on earth protection in addition to the double insulation will require a test on the earthing to make sure that’s working correctly. 

Finally a power lead that has an earth wire will also need testing for “polarity” to make sure it’s wired correctly all the way through and not damaged in any way. 

What makes us different?

By charging a sensible rate that allows us to make a good wage, we are in a position where we do not need to rush our work to get the job done. Many of these bigger firms that offer you low rates per item, pay their staff peanuts, and give them hard to achieve targets. For example, you may be 60p per item but the engineer will only get 20p. He will need to test 500 items a day to make £100.00. He won’t get paid for fuel and travel time. He also doesn’t get paid for repairs he carries out, so he doesn’t bother. A simple fuse change or cable cut will go down as a fail, disrupting your business and leading to extra expense for you.

We don’t charge for repairs, but we do them. We agree with you a fixed price for the job or a sensible per item price, like £1.00 per item. A sensible price means we can make a good wage off the job, as a company we can pay our engineers a good salary, and no body needs to rush their day, because they’re getting paid whether they’re testing, repairing, or simply talking with their clients. We reward our engineers for building rapport with their customers, and in most cases the same engineer will return to your site every time we come, building up a good knowledge of your business, your working practices, even getting to know you and your staff. This makes for a good relationship and helps you; it also means we know everything we know long term, to help guide you on risk assessments etc so you can make the most of our expertise, so you only get what needs testing when it needs it rather than just getting everything done every year.

We also, tidy up as we go. Messy cables don’t look nice, and aren’t efficient; it also makes our job harder, so we tidy them as we go; unplugging them and sorting them out so when we come back our job is easier; and your office looks tidier. We’ll also look at your use of socket block extensions, to see where we can reduce what you’re using, reducing the chances of overheating.

We can also help with other areas, if needed, like Microwave emissions testing, fixed wiring inspections (EICR) and general electrical maintenance.

We can do pre-quote site surveys

  • If we visit your site before we quote it benefits us both…
  • We meet and you get to know who we are; and we get to know you
  • We see your workplace, the environment and the job so we’re quoting right.
  • We are able to work out how many appliances you have and how long we think the job will take

Taking all this into account allows us to quote you a fixed price for the job. A fixed price means no nasty surprises when the invoice comes in, and a happier customer. Say for example we quote you £200 to test 200 items in your office and we test 250 – we still charge you £200 because the difference is our fault. If however, you agree to pay a per item company £1.00 per item, they’ll charge you £250.

If you prefer a price item job we can do that too.

Our way works

We know that the way we operate works; we have over 1000 clients; most of whom work with us long term. If what we do didnt work well they would go elsewhere, but they don’t, and you shouldn’t either, because we can help you. We’ll take away all your queries and concerns and leave you with safe electrical equipment, guidance on what to do next and compliant with the regulations. And we will ensure you always remain compliant with regular reminders and retests, and help with other electrical maintenance work.

Heard enough?

Hopefully you have heard enough and are ready to meet us and work with us. Contact us now to get a quote or arrange a site survey.

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a range of electrical appliances that will need portable appliance testing

What does PAT testing cost?

Our North East portable appliance testing prices start from just £45.00 for the first 20 items, with a price per item depending on the number of appliances to test. See our PAT testing prices page for more information or contact us for a personal PAT testing quote using this form.

We also offer prices based on time, which usually works out cheaper for you, and easier to budget for.

Uk electric 13amp plug BS1363 which requires portable appliance testing

What’s included in the price?

  1. Rewiring of plugs and replacement parts
  2. Supply and fit of replacement plugs to meet British Standards
  3. Supply and fit of replacement fuses (3, 5, 10 and 13amps)
  4. A tidy up and sort out of messy cables
  5. Guidance on how to improve safety measures
  6. Unique ID numbered label for every appliance
  7. Failure report detailing failures and actions
  8. Itemised report of passed appliances including electrical readings
  9. Certificate of compliance
  10. Reminders for retests so you’re always compliant

How often is Portable Appliance Testing needed?

Portable Appliance Testing should be repeated as often as is necessary to eliminate the risk of an appliance becoming dangerous; most people get equipment tested annually as it is good practice and usually ensures equipment maintenance is kept up to date. In some environments like on a building site or a factory where power tools get frequently damaged more testing is needed more often.

We follow guidance from the Health and Safety Executive and the latest IET Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.

In turn we can guide you on what would be best for your site.

What records need keeping?

Although there is no mandatory requirement to produce and keep records on the condition of electrical equipment the HSE ‘Memorandum of guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations’ (HS(R)25) advises that records of maintenance, including test results, will enable the condition of equipment and the effectiveness of maintenance policies to be monitored.

HSE guidance states that “In the event of a prosecution arising from an injury relating to a portable appliance, it would assist the employer’s case if they can produce up to date, accurate records to indicate that they had taken reasonable actions to comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989”.

An itemised PAT test Certificate will provide the regulatory evidence that is required. 

When is portable appliance testing required?

The UK Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) states at Regulation 4(1): “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adopted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided.”

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states at Regulation 4(2): “As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.”

This means that employers (and the self-employed) must ensure that all electrical work equipment is safe, suitable for the purpose and properly maintained in good order.

Regular Portable Appliance Testing will do this. 

seaward Apollo 600 local pat testing portable appliance testing machine

Every Portable Appliance Testing job includes as standard…

electrical plugs and fuses

Free Repairs & Parts

Plugs get damaged or the wrong fuse gets fitted; if we find a fault or repair that's needed we do it automatically, nearly always without charge
portable appliance testing pat testing machine the seaward Apollo 600; seaward are leading pat testing manufacturers based in County Durham in the north east of england

Prompt PAT Test Certificates

We issue PAT testing Certificates within 5 days of the job completing; same day certificates can be arranged if you're really in a hurry
tidy electrical cables on desks

Free Cable Tidying

Plugs and wires get messy in and around desks; some companies charge extra to sort them out - we do it automatically as we go to improve safety and efficiency
UK plugs plugged into an extension lead showing DRA PAT Testing purple pat testing labels
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