Portable Appliance Testing Info
Firstly, lets clear up the confusions…
- Portable Appliance Testing and PAT testing are the same thing
- “Portable” means it can be unplugged
- 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
- Portable Appliance Testing (or PAT Testing) is a process carried out on electrical equipment fitted with a plug to make sure it is safe
- 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.
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.