PAT Testing or Portable Appliance Testing is a common term for what the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) refer to as In-Service Inspection and Test. The IET publish the code of practice for PAT testing which gives guidelines on what is required to maintain electrical safety of equipment and therefore comply with the many laws that cover supply and use of equipment.
What must be Tested?
It will probably come as a surprise but there is not a requirement to PAT test anything. The requirement is that electrical equipment is maintained and electrically safe to use. The person or organisation that provides the equipment is responsible to ensure that appliances are safe to use. This could be a person appointed in a company, or a landlord. PAT testing is just one way of ensuring that equipment is safe for continued use. Alternatives could be to replace the equipment on a regular basis.
Do I require a test every year?
No, the current guidelines examines the risk that is associated with a piece of equipment. An electric clock on the wall in an office is unlikely to be damaged as it is out of reach to most people, therefore is low risk and may only need inspecting every 2 years. However, an angle grinder hired to the public would be much more at risk as the user is holding it and is liable to be used in industrial environments or outdoors by unskilled people. This would mean that the appliance is tested after every time it is hired out.
What should I have checked?
Virtually every piece of electrical equipment you are likely to come across is the answer. Unless it is battery operated, forms part of the main electrical installation, specialist medical equipment or high voltage equipment, which will have their own maintenance requirements. This includes extension leads, power tools, kettles, washing machines, fridges, vacuum cleaner, etc.
What is involved for In-Service Inspection and Test?
There are three levels of test:
- User Checks – which should be carried out every time the equipment is used by whoever, is using it to make sure it is not damaged.
- Formal Visual Inspection – which is a visual inpection of the equipment done by someone appointed by the responsible person. The main difference is that the check is recorded
- Inspection and Test – which will be carried out by a competent person appointed by the person responsible for the equipment. This requires electrical test equipment and the results are recorded. This is what most people associate with a PAT test.
Do I need a sticker on the equipment?
No, is the answer. The sticker can be used as a reminder to the user that the equipment needs to be checked. The important thing is a record of the inspections and tests that have been carried out.
However, if a piece of equipment does fail inspection it must be removed from service. Labels do serve a very useful tool to identify equipment until it is repaired or disposed of.
PAT Testing Service
The service we offer is to undertake the testing that requires special test equipment and the setting up of the records required to conform to the requirements of the law. We can then train staff in procedures to maintain the equipment is a safe condition between PAT tests.