Portable Appliance Testing (or PAT Testing to use the popular phrase) is a method of ensuring that electrical appliances are safe to be used in the workplace or by members of the public.
Any electrical appliance that is fitted with a plug needs to be PAT Tested. This includes 110V appliances such as on site tools etc. The most commonly tested appliances are:
- PC Towers
- Laptop Power Packs
- IEC Leads (Power Leads)
- Power Tools
- Fax Machines
- Water Coolers
- Battery Chargers
- Extension Leads
- 110v Tools
All companies, indiscriminate of size, have a duty to ensure that any appliances used are maintained and safe to use (see 'What legislation covers Portable Appliance Testing?'). PAT Testing is recommended at all businesses, including:
- Nurseries, Schools and Colleges
- Self Employed Work Places
- Residential and Care Homes
- Leisure and Sports Centres
- Night Clubs, Pubs and Bars
- Theatres and Music Venues
- Hotels and B&B's
- Restaurants and Cafes
- Doctors Surgeries
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states that:
"Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair."
Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states that:
"All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger."
"As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger."
"'System' means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment"
"'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."
The Health & 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 Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that:
"Every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessment of:
(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst at work, and
(b) the risks to ensure the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him or his undertaking."
Portable Appliance Testing is a way in which the recommendations and requirements mentioned above can be met and in which people can be kept as safe as possible when using electrical appliances in the work place.
Each item is subjected to a comprehensive visual inspection prior to being electrically tested. Many companies rush this visual inspection and in doing so miss dangerous faults on appliances such as incorrect fuses, damaged cables and incorrect termination in the plug head as well as damage to the casing of the appliance itself.
Please note that appliances with a removable power lead (e.g. PC towers, monitors, printers) are tested individually as technical guidelines dictate (i.e. PC IEC Lead and PC Tower treated as individual items).
The visual inspection is then followed by the appliance being electrically tested using calibrated testing equipment. After a full inspection and test a record sheet is completed and readings are noted for future reference.
A Pass or Fail sticker is placed on the appliance detailing the next required test date, the initials of the test engineer and the appliance identification number which corresponds with the record sheet.
Please ensure that any critical information or data is backed up or protected prior to testing.
Sense Portable Appliance Testing Services UK are covered by a Public Liability Insurance policy, however no liability is accepted for business interruption, loss of data or business information, losses to business related services or loss to business profits.
After completion of the testing of all appliances the company is issued with a copy of a report detailing the results of each test, any suggested recommendations and comments.
A hard copy of this report can be sent upon request however to be environmentally friendly we ask you to print a copy only if specifically required.
If an appliance fails then the Engineer will do what they can to repair the appliance. Regulations dictate that the Engineer cannot open the casing of the appliance; they can only repair problems with the plug and contents, cable to the appliance and minor casing damage.
Once the repairs have been made the item will be retested. If the appliance cannot be repaired then it will be labelled with a Failed sticker and it will need to be taken out of use immediately as it is deemed unsafe to use.
The site contact will be informed and the test records will show the item as Failed for your records.
It is recommended that Landlords that provide appliances to their tenants (white goods etc.) should ensure that the appliances are routinely PAT tested to ensure that they are safe to be used by the tenant.
Some councils and agents will demand that this testing is carried out in order to let the property. It is recommended that such appliances are tested at least every 12 months, and also on tenant changeover.
It is recommended that Portable Appliance Testing is carried out at least once every 12 months for offices, schools, shops, hotels, nursing homes and other 'clean' environments.
Appliances that are used in environments in which they are more likely to sustain damage (e.g. factories, construction sites, tradesmen tools) are recommended to be tested every 3 months.
Once your first test has been carried out Sense PAT Testing Services UK will contact you one month prior to your next inspection to arrange a retest.
Appliances that have detachable IEC or 3 core power leads are tested as separate appliances from their power leads. For example a PC Tower would be tested as two appliances, the IEC Lead and the PC Tower itself.
This is to ensure that if the lead was interchanged and used with a different appliance then it would still be safe.
Sense PAT Testing Services UK offer a Microwave Leakage Detection test in addition to the usual PAT Testing of the microwave.
This MLD test uses a CE approved device to measure the levels of Microwave Leakage (measured in milliWatts per square centimetre) present when operating your microwave.
The test procedure also includes an Operational Safety Cut Off test. Upon completion of the test a MLD Sticker is placed on the microwave and all results are recorded and presented with the PAT Testing results. Prices for the test will be stated in your quotation.
Laptops do not need to be PAT Tested as they are designed to be charged and used independently of their power packs.
The Power Pack and all associated leads do require PAT Testing.
All 110V appliances need to be PAT Tested, as do their transformers. As most 110V appliances are tools and used on site it is recommended that they are retested every 3 months due to their work environment.
Only the appliance that is being tested at that time will be required to be unplugged.
The appliances will need to be unplugged for the test as they are required to be plugged into the Portable Appliance Testing equipment.
The Engineer will only need equipment to be switched off while they are testing that particular appliance. As little disturbance as possible will be made.
After each appliance has been tested it will be labelled with a sticker that details the date of the test, the retest date, the engineers initials and whether the appliance passed or failed.
Once the entire test of the site has been carried out the company will be provided with detailed certification in .pdf format (a hard copy is available on request).
This can then be kept on file or presented to insurers etc.
Sense Portable Appliance Testing Services UK is based in Redditch, South of Birmingham. We cover all surrounding areas and will travel nationwide for larger jobs of over 3000 items.
Please contact us for more information and a free quotation.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) Testing Checklist
After an initial visual equipment check has been passed, it can then be PAT Tested.
Sense use a variety of tests to carry out electrical inspection, including:
EARTH BOND TEST
A Class 1 and Class 3 test that determines whether there is an earth between the appliances metal work and the earth on the plug.
INSULATION RESISTANCE TEST
If there is defective insulation that exposes the conductors, this test will detect this and is carried out on all classes of equipment.
A test to determine whether the equipments fuses work correctly. This test can be carried out on all classes of equipment.
EARTH LEAKAGE TEST
If there is any current to earth leakage when the equipment is being operated this test will indicate this. This test can be carried out on all classes of equipment.