What Is PAT Testing?

What Is PAT Testing

Portable appliance testing (PAT Testing) is the process of periodically testing your electrical appliances, this helps to ensures they are effectively maintained and safe for use within the appropriate environment according to the manufacturer specifications. PAT testing is completed in compliance with the IEE code of practice and HSE guidelines and involves a visual inspection to check the appliance casing and flex for wear or damage. Plugs are also checked for damage, correct wiring and ensuring that the correct fuse rating is used. After the equipment has passed a visual inspection it will undergo a series of electrical tests using a fully calibrated electrical PAT tester. A label will be attached to each appliance indicating the test results any item failing the tests will be easily identifiable and should be removed from service until repaired. Detailed test results are generated and compiled for each electrical appliance and stored in our database. An appliance register, certificate and detailed test results are provided and should be retained for future reference.

Maintain Electrical Safety

The law does not state that PAT testing must be carried out although it does state that the workplace must be electrically safe. Government guidelines state that PAT testing is the best way to ensure electrical safety. Some insurance companies will reject a claim should it be proven that a fire or accident occurred due to faulty electrical equipment that has not been properly maintained. The courts can also issue large fines or even imprisonment should a case be brought forward.

Why PAT Test?

Why PAT Test?

PAT testing was introduced to ensure that all electrical appliances are safely maintained and suitable for the environment in which they are used. This involves periodic planned inspection and testing of portable appliances to meet all required standards and regulations. The Electricity at Work Regulations states that it is a legal requirement that employers maintain their electrical systems at work to prevent any danger.

Health And Safety Legislation

The legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 puts the duty of care upon both the employer and the employee to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self employed.

The IEE Code of Practice for In Service Inspection and Testing of Equipment sets out the standard to which each appliance is comprehensively tested. It is recommended that you use the latest computerised PAT testing equipment or hire a professional company which can offer you this service. All portable appliances will need testing such as IT equipment, kettles and microwaves. The inspection and testing should be carried out by a fully qualified PAT testing engineer.

What are The Legal Requirements?

Legal Requirements

It is stated within the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 that all employers have a legal duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees, visitors and or any contractors who visit their site. The safety of your employees and visitors is largely in your control and you as the employer has a legal duty to prevent any harm coming to either party. Ensuring that all electrical equipment used in the workplace is fully maintained, and for that reason these compliance checks are in place.

PAT Testing Helps Ensure Safety

Portable appliance testing (PAT Testing), is a major contributor to ensuring safety at all times, and will enable your business to comply with the legal standards. Failure to implement a program of regular appliance testing can lead to serious consequences, as well as affecting your insurance policies.

Insurance Guidelines

Most insurance companies will assume that the owners of a business are compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. These insurers are fully entitled to reduce, delay or even refuse to pay on a claim for damage caused by a portable appliance that has not been PAT tested. A high proportion of fires, injuries and even deaths in the workplace are caused by faulty electrical appliances. The risk assessment must cover all electrical equipment. Fines for non compliance issued by the Magistrate Court are up to £20,000. The Crown Court can issue an unlimited fine or 2 years imprisonment.

PAT Testing Reports

PAT Testing Reports

On completion of your PAT testing you will be issued with a detailed report that provides information on each individual item. You will also be provided with a certificate and a register of any faulty equipment found. Reports can be issued in either CD format, electronically and or paper copies. Our records are kept for a minimum 10 year period for your piece of mind.

Equipment Easily Identified

All equipment that requires routine inspection and testing will be clearly identifiable. This will be achieved by labelling the equipment. The information provided will consist of a unique code to enable the equipment to be identified even if several similar items exist within the premises. An indication of the current safety of the equipment will also be included e.g., passed or failed, the date on which testing was completed and when testing is next due.

HT PAT Testing Use The Highest Quality Labels

We use only the finest quality portable appliance testing labels for your equipment. Water resistant and tear proof they will withstand even the harshest of environments. Our PAT labels will be carefully and neatly placed upon all of your appliances that are tested and where possible old labels will be removed.

PAT Testing Repairs

Electrical Repairs

HT PAT Testing engineers find many faults during the course of our inspection and testing procedures, we will repair any of the following minor faults free of charge.

It is essential that each appliance has the correctly rated fuse fitted. We will replace faulty or incorrect fuse types found during testing at no extra charge.

Plugs often become damaged or cracked and we will replace them free of charge.

Another common problem found is loose cable connections at the plug these will also be repaired free of charge.

Cable insulation often becomes damaged exposing the wires inside, we will repair a damaged flex or cable at no extra cost.

HT PAT Testing engineers are fully qualified to City and Guilds standards ensuring that all testing and repairs are professionally carried out to the highest standards.

Appliances that are found to have faults beyond a minor repair will be appropriately labelled and brought to your attention. We will then recommend a course of action such as replacing the appliance or returning the item to the manufacturer.

What Types Of Appliances Need PAT Testing?

There are different classifications for electrical appliances and the tests that are required, below are some classification examples and the applied testing.

Each appliance will undergo a thorough visual inspection to check the correct fuse type is fitted and to ensure that there are no signs of damage to the flex, casing or plug.

Class 1. This equipment includes toasters, kettles, irons, microwaves, fridge freezers, heaters etc. These items require an earth continuity test, insulation resistance test and a protective earth conductor current test.

Class 2. This equipment includes some stereo equipment, televisions, lamps, vacuum cleaners etc. These items require an insulation resistance test and touch current test.

Information technology equipment (IT) includes computers, telecommunications, monitors, printers etc. These items require an earth continuity test and an insulation resistance test.

Extension leads and detachable cables such as an IEC lead are classed as a separate item and require an earth continuity test, an insulation resistance test and a polarity test.

Hand held equipment includes appliance intended to be held in the hand during normal use, drills, hair dryers etc. Most of these appliances are class 2 but occasionally can be class 1

Microwave Leakage Test. In addition to the electrical test a microwave radiation leakage test is highly recommended, the doors are checked for corrosion, the seals are checked for signs of wear or damage. Finally a test meter is used to ensure that no dangerous microwave emissions are detected.

Who Is Responsible?

Who Is Responsible For PAT Testing?

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 requires every employer to ensure that work equipment is appropriate for the purpose for which it is provided, only used in the place and under the provisions for which it is provided. It also requires every employer to ensure work equipment be efficiently maintained and kept fit and suitable for its intended purpose. It must not be allowed to deteriorate in function or performance to such a level that it puts people at risk. This means that regular, routine and planned maintenance regimes must be considered if hazardous problems can arise.

Penalties

Fines for non compliance issued by the Magistrate Court are up to £20,000. The Crown Court can issue an unlimited fine or 2 years imprisonment. A high proportion of fires, injuries and even deaths in the workplace are caused by faulty appliances. The risk assessment must cover all electrical equipment.

Regulations

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states that As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger. Electrical equipment includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy.

Portable Appliance Testing

Portable appliance testing is a major contributor to ensuring the electrical safety in the work place and will enable your business to comply with the legal standards. Failure to implement a program of regular appliance testing can lead to serious consequences, as well as affecting your insurance policies.

Are There Any Additional Charges?

No Additional Charges

With HT PAT Testing there are no hidden charges, we will provide you with a detailed and highly competitive written quote. Your quote will include cost per test and the total amount payable, we aim to keep PAT testing prices low and once you have been provided with a PAT testing quote we will stand by it. Any minor appliance repairs that are required during our inspection and testing will be carried out professionally and totally free of charge, this includes:

  • Totally flexible, we operate twenty four hours a day seven days a week at no extra charge.
  • No additional parking or fuel costs will be charged.
  • We will replace any faulty or incorrect fuses at no extra charge.
  • Faulty or damaged plugs will be repaired or replaced free of charge.
  • We will repair a faulty connection to a plug at no extra charge.
  • A damaged flex or cable will be replaced at no extra cost.

Common Faults

Faults Found During Portable Appliance Testing

With HT PAT Testing every single appliance at your location will be thoroughly tested for safety and compliance. Here are just a few examples of the typical electrical faults and problems we find during our testing procedures. Rest assured that if any of these issues exist in your workplace HT PAT Testing will detect and repair them free of charge.

Three cables connected to one plug

This extremely dangerous wiring was found in a guest house, it shows cabling from a tv, stereo and amplifier all connected to one plug. HT PAT Testing repaired this problem free of charge by fitting a seperate plug to each of the appliances.

Two cables wired together

The image above shows two cables that had been wired together and secured by insulation tape. If this type of dangerous DIY repair were to cause a fire, serious injury or even death the chances are that any insurance policy would be invalid and serious legal consequences would follow. This appliance required a new length of mains cable fitting and was then safe to use.

Bad connection to plug

The above picture shows a plug found in a surgery. This is dangerous as the cable is not properly secured possibly leading to wires being pulled loose. Any plugs like this at your location will be rewired by HT PAT Testing free of charge.

Microwave Leakage Testing

In addition to PAT testing we also provide microwave leakage testing.

Microwave radiation is both odorless and invisible. Leakage can be caused by slamming the oven door, leaving food particles in the hinges or seals and moving the oven around etc.

A radiation intensity of only 5mw/cm2 is classed as being harmful, regular testing enables the identification of defective leaking microwave ovens.

HT PAT Testing use the most advanced microwave leakage meters for your safety and peace of mind.

Microwave Oven History

The fact that microwaves could be used to cook food was first discovered in the 1940s by Percy Spencer an engineer at the Raytheon Company. Working on radar systems to spot enemy planes during World War 2 he stumbled upon the idea due to a toffee bar melting in his pocket as he experimented with the magnetron. He then tried popcorn and eggs and was astounded at the results.

He continued working on the idea and in the 1950s the first microwave ovens were produced. These early microwave ovens were extremely large and expensive and only used in the catering industry. It was not until 1967 that the first popular domestic microwave was introduced which was the countertop Radarange.

Over the next few years microwave technology progressed and sales increased to over one million by 1975. Early models had been known as electric ovens until the name microwave oven was standardized in the 1970s. As prices continued to fall electronic controls were added and soon the vast majority of households had purchased a microwave oven.

Today there are many companies that produce microwave ovens and the prices are extremely low, this means that almost all workplaces contain at least one microwave. These microwave ovens should be tested not only for electrical safety but also radiation leakage around the oven door and seals.

Six Free Electrical Safety Books

Electrical Safety Information

Ht PAT testing believe that knowledge is the key to providing electrical safety in the workplace. Our aim is to help you reduce the risks involved with the use of portable electrical equipment. If you would like additional health and safety advice or information regarding electrical safety HT PAT Testing will send you any of the six booklets described below free of charge. These booklets written by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) contain a wealth of useful information.

Booklet One Risk Assessment

This booklet will assist employers and the self employed to assess risks within the workplace. It focuses on businesses in the commercial, service and light industrial sectors.

Booklet Two Electrical Safety And You

This booklet outlines basic measures to help you control the risks from your use of electricity at work.

Booklet Three Safety In Electrical Testing At Work.

If you run or manage a workplace where electrical testing is conducted this booklet will provide basic guidance on safe electrical testing and safety for the people carrying out the testing.

Booklet Four Electrical Safety For Entertainers

This booklet sets out the basic measures to help reduce the electrical risks for entertainer who uses electrical equipment for sound, lighting or other effects. There are also some important notes regarding the law.

Booklet Five Maintaining Electrical Equipment In Hotels And Guest Houses

This booklet sets out precautions you can take to prevent danger from the use of electrical equipment in tourist accommodation such as hotels and guest houses.

Booklet Six Maintaining Portable Electrical Equipment In Offices

This booklet sets out the precautions which may be taken to help prevent danger from portable electrical equipment in premises such as offices and libraries.

If you would like to receive any or all of the booklets described above please click on the "contact us" link below and complete the form indicating which of the booklets you require, we will send them to you via email.

HT PAT Testing Blogs

Do IT Yourself PAT Testing Introduction by HT PAT Testing

Do it yourself PAT testing (portable appliance testing) is not practical for all businesses, but for some companies large or small it is an option worth considering. Restraints such as time taken for competent employees to complete the PAT testing, equipment and knowledge are all factors that should be considered before undertaking the task.

In this series of articles HT PAT Testing will be offering help and advice on the subject. Should you need further assistance or would like to compare the costs of do it yourself PAT testing with a professional PAT testing company then please visit our website at http://www.htpattesting.co.uk and complete the no obligation online quote.

Firstly do you have a competent member of staff and will they have the time to complete the PAT testing along with there other duties? Competent means they hold sufficient electrical knowledge to complete the testing. Ideally they should have training and qualifications such as City and Guilds 2377 and be familiar with the IEE code of practice.

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