Portable Appliance Testing - PAT Testing for business


As a business, you have a duty to prevent any harm coming to your employees and customers. Portable appliance testing is one of the ways that you can comply with this obligation. Failure to implement a programme of regular appliance testing can also have insurance implications.

Insurance companies assume that when giving insurance cover to a business, the owners of that business are complying with all regulations necessary. An insurance company may reduce, delay or even refuse to pay on a claim for damage if an appliance that has not been tested has caused the damage.

The responsibility of employers Electricity at work regulations 1989

Regulation 4 (2): 'As may be necessary to prevent danger all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent so far as is reasonably practicable such danger.' To meet the requirements of the 1989 Electricity at work regulations, it is widely regarded to be necessary to implement a programme of planned inspection and testing of portable appliances. In the Health & Safety At Work Act 1974, all employers have a legal duty to provide safe plant and equipment and every employer must ensure that equipment must be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and good repair.

Why do we Portable Appliance Test?

1. All portable appliances should regularly maintained and checked for safety.
2. Comply with the law. Electricity at work regulations 1989. Provision and use of work equipment 1998. Management of Health & Safety 1999.
3. Blame Culture- Companies need to protect themselves from this increasing blame culture, and prove they take their Health & Safety responsibilities seriously.

Three of Checks and Inspection

1. User Check Unrecorded visual- everyone within the office is responsible.
2. Formal Inspection Recorded Visual- done more frequently, not with a tester.
3. Combined Inspection Full visual, use tester and record.

What is a portable Appliance?

Portable, moveable, hand held tools and equipment connected, by means of a cable or cord, to a live electrical outlet socket. Appliances that are designed to be built in, IT equipment, extension leads, multi way adaptors.

Classes of Electrical Equipment

Class 1 - Items that are protected against electrical shock by means of a separate earth.
Class2 - Items that are protected against electrical shock due to being double insulated.
Class3 - Items that are protected against electrical shock via a SELV source.

Basic tests

1. Visual inspection of the lead, fuse plug and appliance casing.
2. Earth Bond test, a current is sent though the appliance to check that the earth bond is intact .
3. Insulation test, a high current is passed through the appliance to check that the power is not going to leak out through the body of the appliance.
4. Load test, This is a functional check, the appliance has a charge sent through it and it should operate in the normal way..

The facts

Generally testing in offices should be every 3-4 years except any equipment that can be move on a daily basis. Laptops, phone chargers, etc, this should be done annually. Any equipment in the public domain should be checked every 6-12 months, including schools. Most site equipment should be checked every 1-3 months or everytime equipment is put on a new site. ( these are easy guideline to follow a detailed frequency of testing chart can be found in the IEE Code of practice for In-service-inspection 3rd edition 2007) for any further details and costs please do not hesitate to contact us.