PAT Testing: The ultimate guide
Portable Appliance Testing (commonly known as PAT testing) is often a confusing subject for many business owners but in reality its relatively simple. In this article we’re going to take an in-depth look at PAT testing and its requirements.
What is PAT testing?
PAT testing is a routine examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe for use, preventing potential electrical accidents and injuries in the workplace. There is multiple tests involved in a PAT test to ensure nothing is missed and at the end each appliance tested gets marked with a pass or a fail.
Why are PAT tests needed?
PAT tests are not a legal requirement but many businesses decide its importance from The electricity at work regulations 1989.
These regulations apply to all uses of electricity in your workplace. That’s right, the kettle, microwave and even your computer! The electricity at work regulations mean that employers and employees have a duty to ensure all equipment in their workplace are working correctly and are safe to use.
Many insurance companies require PAT testing for their policies as it significantly reduces risks of fire and other electrical damages. If electrical equipment is not tested and causes harm, your insurance may be invalid because of it.
What does a PAT test involve?
PAT testing has 3 steps each with a different type of evaluation.
The first thing that happens with a PAT test is user checks. Everyone within the workplace should have basic training to ensure malfunctioning or broken equipment is spotted and dealt with early. Usually this is done within the induction of new staff.
Secondly, a formal visual inspection is done by a professional to find any damage that could cause your appliance to be faulty, this can include signs of overheating, damage to the plug or wire, cracks or dents, and if the correct fuse is being used.
After the formal visual inspection, the PAT tester will do a function test to ensure your appliance works as intended. If anything like a fuse or plug needs replacing, the PAT tester will carry out the replacement.
What do you receive after a PAT test?
After a completed PAT test you will receive a certificate stating the summary of your test and if your electrical appliances comply. You will also get a pass or a fail sticker on each piece of equipment that’s checked with the testers initials and if failed, the reason why.
If your equipment fails, it is removed from the premises to ensure it has no further use. You can decide to have your equipment fixed if possible.
How often do I need to carry out a PAT test?
To decide on how often you need a PAT test, you will need to do a risk assessment to take in to consideration how often your equipment is used, who is using it, where its being used and how long the equipment is meant to last. If your work has heavy electrical appliances such as factory machinery, you will need PAT tests more often than an office.
Can I do my own PAT test?
In short, yes but PAT testing requires significant training and experience to do correctly. Not only that but having the required equipment can get complicated.
Hiring a fully trained PAT testing contractor is the best way to ensure your PAT test is completed to a high standard without the hassle. PAT testing contractors have had extensive training and can spot things that the average person miss.