By June 11, 2015 Read More →

Word to the Wise – PAT testing

PAT TestingDo you provide electrical equipment for clients, visitors, staff or anyone else?

If so, you need to make sure it’s safe to use.

During my cleaning business days I used to collect all the Henrys from the offices we cleaned and take them to the electrical shop for PAT testing.

Today’s Word to the Wise is from Richard Ayre, explaining what the legal requirements are:

Richard says: PAT testing is important but often misunderstood because there are so many grey areas in the requirements that even PAT technicians themselves get confused.
 
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (under the Health and Safety at Work Act) require any business that provides electrical equipment to any user, including staff and visitors, to maintain it to a level deemed safe, and to be able to prove they have done so.

Evidence that an electrical appliance is safe can only be gathered by performing a visual inspection, and then if required a portable appliance test. This process combined is more commonly known as ‘PAT testing’.
 
It is my job as a PAT technician to carry out inspections, and then conduct a series of tests on electrical equipment using a PAT machine.

Based on results of my work, the appliance will either pass or fail. A fail means further investigations are required. It could be that I have to carry out repairs such as replacing the plug or repairing the cable, or a specialist may need to fix the appliance itself.

Alternatively the fail can be so severe that the appliance would need disposing of. Failing an appliance is not a bad thing. It’s finding a fault, fixing that fault, or taking the appliance out of service and so is removing danger.

A dangerous appliance can lead to electric shock or fire. Receiving an electric shock is an unpleasant experience (believe me I have had a few). PAT testing aims to prevent that happening.
 
This process should be carried out as often as it is required, usually based on a risk assessment. Despite what many want you to believe, PAT testing is not a legal requirement, and you don’t have to get it done every year.

You are advised to get your electrical appliances inspected and tested as regularly as you deem necessary in order to have evidence that they are safe, in the event of an accident occurring, or to prevent accidents.

work from home secrets

Richard’s company DRA Solutions is a specialist PAT testing company providing a professional and reliable electrical appliance testing service to businesses, organisations and schools across the North East of England.

Have a look at what he keeps in his PAT testing bag!

Enjoyed this? Other Word to the Wise posts include tips to improve your writing from technical writer Claire Yeomans (finding unusual characters on your keyboard) and VA Catherine Poole on the benefits of intelligent transcription.

Posted in: Routine

3 Comments on "Word to the Wise – PAT testing"

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  1. James says:

    Pat Testing is such a major part of electrical testing and compliance these days and yet so many people still ignore it. The most common type of ignorance is those that work at home and yet do not PAT test there own equipment.

    • What James says is spot on; you may work from home but to be safe there’s nothing wrong with getting a PAT test; you may be at home but if you have an ‘office’ in your house then you have a workplace.

      You don’t need to get appliances tested every year though; just getting them done once in every 4-5 years should be sufficient (that’s providing you’re running an office not a shed full of power tools).

      If you have any questions about PAT feel free to contact me.

      • Thanks for the clarification, Richard. When I ran my cleaning business I was led to believe it was a legal requirement for me to get vacuum cleaners etc tested every year, a bit like an MOT. I’d have done it anyway, but good to know the reality.

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