PAT testing law

Is PAT testing a legal requirement?

There can be some confusion around whether there is a legal requirement to have PAT testing conducted. Contradictory and misleading advice about the legal status of PAT testing is widespread. It is clear that there is no strict legal requirement to perform PAT testing written into UK law explicitly. However, the law does clearly require that all electrical equipment provided to employees in the workplace is maintained in safe working order.

PAT testing is the most effective way to ensure that electrical equipment is safe.

Both the UK Health and Safety Executive, and insurance companies, expect employers to perform regular PAT tests.

Which UK regulations does PAT testing help employers to comply with?

Regular PAT testing is the best way to ensure that you are complying with regulations covering safety in the workplace, including:

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA)

The HSWA specifies a wide range of duties for employers to protect the ‘health, safety and welfare’ of everyone who is present on their premises. In relation to electrical equipment, the HSWA states that an employer is responsible for ‘the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health’. Essentially, PAT tests are the ‘sufficient measures being taken’ to ensure that fixed wiring and portable appliances are safe and properly maintained, fulfilling obligations stated in the HSWA.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Under this regulation, employers are required to perform a risk assessment to protect every person present in the workplace to make sure they are not subject to danger. A risk assessment is required so that the HSWA can be put into practice in every workplace.

PAT testing specialists such as Reaction Group are experts in helping organisations to create and conduct necessary risk assessments, which ensure organisations meet regulations and provide for workplace compliance.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR)

The EAWR regulations, in particular, are directly relevant to the testing of electrical equipment. Under the EAWR, employers have a duty that all electrical equipment is regularly inspected and repaired as needed, to ensure they’re safe to operate. The EAWR states, ‘As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, as far as is reasonably practicable, such danger’. The EAWR also states that electrical equipment is ‘maintained in a condition suitable for that use’.

Although the EAWR does not specifically mention portable appliance testing and inspection; the law requires electrical systems to be ‘maintained’ in a condition so as not to cause danger. The only way to be sure that electrical equipment is safe and maintained is by conducting electrical testing and inspection. Essentially, the need for PAT testing is implicit in the EAWR regulations.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

Under this law, there is a clear duty for every employer to ‘ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided’. PAT testing meets the stated obligation for employers to properly maintain equipment. Under the Regulation ‘every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair’. The Regulation also clearly states that the employer has a duty to conduct inspections when new equipment is first put into service, after it’s moved, and also at regular intervals during service to check for deterioration. Additional tests and inspections should also be conducted on all equipment for any damage from events such as fires and floods.

What are the potential consequences of not complying with regulations?

Failing to comply with workplace safety regulations can incur fines of up to £20,000 and/or 6 months in prison. Although PAT testing itself is not a legal requirement, it is the most effective way to ensure that you are complying with workplace safety regulations.

UK law requires employers, and the self-employed, to ensure that all electrical equipment provided is safe and properly maintained. Therefore, PAT testing needs to be a key part of every company’s health and safety policy.

Contact Reaction Group for your PAT Testing

Contact the UK specialists for PAT testing today. Get in touch with our expert team who will advise on your PAT testing requirements. Our experienced team have worked with many high profile clients across the UK including Coca-Cola, Samsung and Amazon.

Reaction Group provide comprehensive workplace compliance services, on a one-off or scheduled basis, for your business. Call 0203 961 5855 or click here to contact us online.

PAT testing companies

Choosing PAT testing companies for multi-site locations

PAT testing within the workplace is an essential process to ensure the safety of your staff, customers and tenants. The procedures PAT testing companies follow become an integral part of a workplace health and safety practices and with the help of a professional, you can rest assured the risks of electrical incidents are minimised.

What is PAT testing?

Portable appliance testing, or PAT testing, is the process of running various visual and electrical tests on portable equipment within the home, workplace or leased property. The following checks should be completed by a competent PAT testing company who have professionally trained staff.

Visual checks include:

  • Searching for signs of rust, decay, mold or damage to wires or sockets.
  • Identifying any modifications, adjustments or repairs made to the appliance such as using tape.
  • Signs of overheating, such as burns.
  • Check for loose screws or parts which may impact the use of the appliance.
  • Observing the surrounding environment for signs of water, weather influences and/or close objects that may affect the appliance. This may include waste or heat producing interference with equipment.
  • Discussing with staff on their experiences using the equipment.

Electrical tests include:

  • Testing the appliance and wires to ensure they are safe for use.
  • Checking insulation and earth continuity for signs of deteriorating wires and connections.

PAT testing within the workplace

Many large PAT testing companies will have experience working within a variety of workplace environments. The professionals will be able to identify common appliances and issues in the workplace, and provide comprehensive recommendations to management teams.

Common appliances to be checked in different workplaces may include:

  • Office or commercial space – computers, TVs and printers, vending machines and/or kitchen equipment such as kettles and fridges.
  • Warehouses – fans and/or large chillers.
  • Property – kitchen equipment such as kettles and fridges, hair dryers, portable heaters, hoovers, washing machines and/or dishwashers.
  • Construction – handheld equipment such as drills and/or cutting tools.

There are also various influences which may impact the approach the PAT testing companies take, as they may increase the potential risks involved. These may include:

  • Exposure to water or extreme weather.
  • How often the appliance is used and when it was last used.
  • How clean the surrounding environment is.
  • If there is buildup of mold, rust or waste around or near the appliance.
  • How often the appliance is moved – typically the more often it is moved the higher the risk of damage.

PAT testing to serve multi-site locations

As a medium to large company, you may be interested in choosing a PAT testing company that can serve your multiple office locations. This is an encouraged approach as your chosen PAT testing company can help keep the PAT testing reports in one organised place. It can also be a useful management tool for reviewing maintenance and allows you to easily access and demonstrate your practices.

Another benefit of using PAT testing companies to serve your multiple locations is to ensure the PAT testing procedures are kept consistent across all your offices or sites.

Multi-site service with Reaction Group

The team at Reaction Group have a wealth of experience in PAT testing for a variety of different businesses and have long-standing relationships with leading companies such as Coca Cola, Amazon and Samsung.

For many of our retained clients, we provide a multi-site service to offer rigorous PAT testing at their many office and site locations. With our head office in Dorset, key locations in London and a network of professional PAT testers across the UK, we are confident we can serve your business locations with PAT testing.

Contact the PAT testing professionals

At Reaction Group, we have a team of highly qualified PAT testing professional across the UK; each member of our team achieves important certifications which help evident their competence. The following accreditations demonstrate our engineers and company efforts to employ qualified staff that are educated and focus on health and safety, these include ISO 9001, NICEIC, SafeContractor, CHAS, Constructionline and CompEx.

Contact Reaction Group for your business’ PAT testing needs today, call us on 0203 961 5855 or email