PAT Testing is essential for health and safety purposes and is even more important in commercial and public settings where the risk of widespread injury is higher. All portable electrical devices need to be tested periodically to ensure that they function correctly and safely.
There is some argument about how often devices need to be checked. The frequency of tests should be determined by the amount of risk that is involved. Equipment in hazardous environments and devices that are used by a large number of people need to be checked more frequently. For example office equipment doesn’t need checking as often as devices used on construction sites. The proximity to water and other liquids also needs to be taken into account.
Commercial sites can be broken down into five broad categories to help determine how often PAT testing is required in a commercial setting. The first of these, and the lowest risk, is offices. There is less likelihood for moving devices in an office setting and employees will interact with devices so regularly that they can visually tell if there is a problem. Testing IT equipment every two years is considered best practice.
Schools are the next category because of the volume of devices and the amount of people that use them. The number of users means the risk is higher because of the increased wear. Health and safety is a major concern for schools so electrical appliances and equipment should be formally tested every year. Visual inspections every term are also important to highlight any problems quickly.
The third category is very broad and considered medium risk. Any type of environment that is open to the public need to have health and safety measures in place to protect people. Stationary equipment and less mobile devices should be tested every year. Portable appliances need checking much more frequently, especially when they are used by high numbers of people. Tests every six months are recommended.
Industrial settings are the fourth bracket because there is considerable risk. An industrial space can include factories, workshops and even large commercial kitchens. The environments lead to higher wear on devices. The frequency of use also has a huge impact. Like public spaces stationary devices need checking every year and portable every six months. Monthly inspections of equipment is best practice if you want to guarantee safety.
The final, and by far highest risk category, is construction sites. These are the most dangerous settings because there are many factors that can cause damage to equipment. From the dust to the heavy nature of the equipment there are many hazards to contend with. Visual inspections of devices should be completed every month and a full test done every three.
Commercial PAT testing is very important and should be an integral part of health and safety practices. Protecting employees and members of the public is the responsibility of the property/site owner or manager.