Do you really understand PAT testing?

What does PAT mean? Is it important?

Portable appliance testing, also known as PAT, is the examination of electrical equipment and appliances to guarantee that they are safe for use. Visual inspections will find most faults but a few types of defects can only be found by testing. As important as actual testing is, it is also essential to know that visual examinations are just as important as there are faults that cannot be found by testing alone.

By law, do I need to have my electrical appliances tested every year?

Any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause harm should be maintained in a good, safe condition; this is part of The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. Nevertheless, the Regulations do not specify what needs to be done, by whom and how frequent it needs to be done. They do not make inspections or testing of electrical appliances a legal requirement, nor do they make it a legal requirement to do it annually.

As it isn’t a legal requirement, how often should I test my appliances?

This all depends upon the type of equipment and the environment it is used in. For example, a piece of machinery in a busy factory needs to be tested more frequently than a desk fan in one of the offices.

Do I need to keep records and should I label any appliances that have been tested?

As testing the equipment is not a legal requirement, neither is keeping a record or labeling the equipment that has been tested. On the other hand, a record and / or labeling can be useful for monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of any maintenance scheme that you may have in place and to show that said scheme exists.

Do I need to get an electrician to do any portable appliance testing?

The person that is doing the testing needs to be knowledgeable to do it. In many low-risk environments, a sensible member of staff can undertake visual inspections if they have enough training and knowledge. However, when undertaking combined inspections and testing, a much greater level of knowledge and experience is needed. They will need:

  • The right equipment
  • The ability to use said equipment correctly
  • The capability of understanding the test results

Does new equipment need testing too?

No this should not require a portable appliance test, but a simple visual once over is always recommended.

Where can I buy the relevant labels?

You can purchase different type of Portable Appliance Testing labels from us at Customark Ltd.

To find out more visit our Component Test Labels website!

All information was provided by HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and can be found on their website.