The Importance of PAT Testing – the good, the bad and the ugly
PAT Testing, or otherwise known as Portable Appliance Testing, is the act of examining electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment with the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. (HSE, 2018)
What is a PAT Test?
PAT Testing involves a variety of tests which may vary slightly depending on the set up, variety of appliances being tested, and the PAT Testing company providing the service. At Reaction Group, as a minimum our PAT tests always include:
- A visual inspection of the equipment
- Ensuring any flexible cables are in good condition
- Verification of grounding (if appropriate)
- Testing the insulation between the current carrying parts
- Checking any exposed metal that could be touched.
When performing a test, we indicate a pass or fail for each item, and will recommend the appropriate solutions if there are any defects.
What do the regulations say about PAT Testing?
There are no specific regulations which require PAT Testing to be conducted, nor do they specify details regarding what testing, if any, needs to be done, how frequently it is required or by whom the test should be done by. Essentially, this means there is no legal requirement to inspect or test electrical appliances.
This being said, there is a duty on employers, the self-employed and employees to take reasonable measures to prevent danger in their place work and to ensure appliances, both fixed or portable, are properly maintained. Therefore, it is highly recommended that businesses and landlords carry out regular professional PAT Testing to make sure these devices are safe for the users.
In recent news, there are new safety recommendations to better protect private tenants from risks of electric shocks or fires caused by electrical faults. These improved recommendations include fines of up to £30,000 for rogue landlords and agents and even banning orders for the worst offenders. Read more here >
So why is PAT Testing important?
As there is an increasing influx of electrical equipment and appliances from all over the world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to expect a high level of quality. For this reason, many appliances have been found unsafe, have been recalled by suppliers or deemed unfit for use in terms of fire safety.
Certain electrical appliances are particularly dangerous and could cause the following: an electric shock or burn, wear or misuse, or at worse cause a fire due to the damage. Items of higher risk may include, but are not limited to, equipment in wet and harsh environments, exposure to sunlight, old equipment or excessive wear and tear.
Did you know? Faulty appliances, such as washing machines, tumble dryers and fridge freezers, cause 60 UK house fires a week, Which? Says.
Who should perform PAT Tests?
There are two key parts to a PAT Test. The first being the visual inspection which does not involve touching or testing any of the equipment, this should be completed by an individual who is competent in knowing what to look out for. However, the second part involves inspection and testing which should only be carried out by an experienced and educated individual in the field of electrical testing. This is due to the increased risk when testing electrical equipment.
PAT tester checklist
A responsible PAT Testing professional should:
- Have the appropriate equipment to complete the tests including calibrated devices
- Be able to comprehend the results.
- Have the ability to conduct the testing under safe circumstances and ensure the tests are conducted correctly with minimal risk of missing issues.
- Carry the correct qualifications and insurances including being an NICEIC approved company and ensuring the engineers are qualified to C&G2377.
PAT Testing with Reaction Group
Our PAT Testing team have a wealth of experience in the field and have gained all the relevant qualifications and comprehensive training. Our team perform testing across the UK from small enterprises to global organisations like Samsung, Coca-Cola and Amazon.