Your PAT Testing Questions answered by Suffolk PAT

Who needs PAT testing done?

All business require to be able to show that their electrical appliances are being regularly checked and are 'safe'.

PAT Testing is the easiest way to meet this legal requirement.

The risks of not complying can range from expensive fines from the Health and Safety executive or much worse; a serious injury or death to a member of staff or the public.

If there was an accident, your insurer may ask for proof of safety testing and for you written records of the regular checks of your electrical appliances. Again, PAT Testing is the easiest way to show proper checks have been undertaken and recorded.

What exactly is Portable Appliance Testing?

The 'Inspection and Testing of In-Service Electrical equipment' (usually referred to as Portable Appliance testing or PAT), was introduced to enable companies & organisations comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

The IEE Code of Practice is the Industry Standard for PAT testing and this covers all electrical appliances (over 50 Volts AC), including hand-held, portable, moveable, stationary and fixed electrical equipment, as well as IT equipment, so pretty much every appliance is included if it connects to the electrical installation via normal plugs, industrial plugs or hard-wired via a direct fused connection into the mains supply.

Do I need my electrical appliances tested?

To comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations all electrical appliances should be routinely inspected and tested by a competent person (such as a qualified PAT tester) to ensure they are safe.

Is PAT Testing compulsory?

Whilst the H&S executive do not specify PAT testing as the only way to document safety checks have been carried out, unless the business owner is competent to inspect, check and record the condition of electrical appliances, a PAT Test is the easiest way to ensure proper checks and records are kept.

This applies to all business owners and managers (who are known as 'the responsible persons' in Health and Safety law) such as a shop manager, cafe owner or the landlord of a self catering holiday home, the landlord of a long let residential property, directors of all companies, managers of shops and offices and even the self employed contractor who must ensure his own tools of work are tested.

How often should they be tested?

The frequency of inspection and testing required will vary depending on the type of appliance, its location, and its use, but normally, most items used by the public or employees will require annual or bi-annual testing. As it is not cost effective to split this up for small premises, annual testing of all appliances is the safest choice.

We operate to the IEE Code of Practice for the in service inspection and testing of electrical equipment and can help you develop an effective inspection & testing schedule that will suffice.

What does proper PAT testing involve?

Proper PAT testing consists of 3 separate activities, during which appliances are turned off and disconnected from the supply, so some disruption is inevitable but we work with Clients to minimise this during the testing which includes:-

  1. A formal visual inspection of the appliance to check for damage and any poor electrical standards, and
  2. A series of tests using technical equipment, to check for electrical faults (eg: earth continuity, insulation resistance and earth leakage tests).
  3. The PAT tester then undertakes a 'function check' to ensure the item is in good working order before applying the "PASSED" label.

How can Suffolk PAT & Inventory-Portal Ltd help?

We can ensure that your organisation complies with the electrical safety regulations by putting into place a arangements for regular, professional PAT testing of all your electrical appliances.

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