If we fail an appliance we will advise you what to do; either repair it or dispose of it. 

PAT Testing is as much about finding faulty appliances and fixing them as it is about confirming appliances are safe.

If an appliance fails it may be repairable; if we can repair it we will do, but if not we’ll recommend further action. Usually that is one of two options:

  • Get it repaired by a specialist
  • Dispose of it by appropriate means
red do not use Failed PAT test label

What happens if an item fails a PAT Test?

When an appliance fails a PAT test we look at the options available for that appliance or customer. If the appliance can be repaired or if it is so dangerous it is beyond repair and needs to be disposed of.

Sometimes the appliance can’t be repaired by us, but could be repaired by a specialist engineer so we recommend you contact an alternate expert, such as the engineer from the company that manufactured the product. For example, if a cooker failed, there may be an internal issue that could be fixed by a domestic appliance engineer.

If the fault is small, like a damaged cable we may be able to cut it back to a safer spot and then reattach the existing plug, or if the plug was sealed, replace it with a new plug. We do this automatically; you won’t see it in the detailed report as we don’t see the point – we have done it in the past but it causes so much confusion we stopped doing it. But we do mention it to you (and we put it in the notes that are supplied with the PAT certificate) so you are aware it has been done, showing the value of the PAT test.

Finding a fault and repairing it gives value to portable appliance testing.

It is common practice to fail faulty electrical equipment, remove it from service and or quarantine it until professional repairs have been carried out.

If an appliance does fail and will be repaired by others, it should be tested either by them or us before going back in to service. If we test it we can remove the failed item from the report, and add the passed appliance.

It is also possible that an appliance fails the PAT Test without actually being faulty, and we are often surprised how few PAT engineers even do this, often stating that they would be scared to do so, even though putting safety first is meant to be the way forward.

There are several reasons why appliances may fail PAT testing, including:

  • Incorrect use of the appliance
  • Age of the appliance
  • Equipment calibration has lapsed
  • Incorrect appliance for the task
  • Incompetence of the engineer doing the test
  • Incorrect readings from the PAT tester
  • Incorrect PAT tester for the job
  • Incorrect choice of tests
  • And you must remember that it is also possible that an appliance that is dangerous and should fail; will get missed by an engineer in a hurry because he is on a ridiculous piece-rate price per item from a cheap pat testing company; putting the lives of your users and your business at risk.

If you choose a competent, reliable PAT testing service provider it will help to reduce the chance of mistakes and address most of the above quickly!

failed pat test label that can be edited

PAT Testing service providers with the right knowledge and experience, such as ourselves, are competent to test electrical appliances in the correct manner; doing the right tests, the right inspections, the right risk assessments, using the correct testers, interpreting the results correctly and being able to certify them for continued use… safely. 

As experienced PAT testers we are fully aware of the right classifications of equipment, and we know what to look for, and what may fail, and we also know the anomalies that may need alternate tests to certify them. 

Inexperienced testers often fail photocopiers, printers and heaters because the results they get were not what they were taught in their classes, but they don’t know what to eliminate and what to take into account. 

For example, appliances with built-in devices that limit voltage such as surge protectors will probably fail the Insulation Resistance Test. and this should be taken into account. 

Appliances with long extension cords such as cable reels, tend to fail the earth continuity test if the correct test limits are not put in place. Using the right PAT tester for the appliance can fix the issue, but there is no substitute for knowledge and experience; the discretion and competence of the person carrying out the test will make a significant difference so the correct results are achieved. 

What if an appliance fails a PAT test?

Items that actually fail tests are usually removed from service with immediate effect, and supervisors, contractors and users suitably notified.

If an appliance fails the test we will recommend it be removed from service; we label it with a red fail label and record it in the report.

Appliances that have failed testing should be easily identifiable – we attach prominent red labels stating “Fail do not use”, which makes it obvious that the appliance should not be used. 

Irrespective of whether the PAT Testing has been done in house or by a hired competent PAT Testing service provider, identifying each piece of equipment and labelling them clearly will go a long way to prevent any serious mishaps when handling portable appliances at the workplace.

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