Everything you need to know about electrical equipment inspection

At Hawkesworth we've been carrying out electrical equipment inspection (also known as portable appliance testing, or PAT testing) for over 25 years and have over 100 qualified engineers across the UK and Ireland.

This article will help answer your frequently asked questions about electrical equipment testing. If you have any additional questions that you would like us to answer, please let us know!

Is electrical equipment testing a legal requirement?

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 make it your responsibility to make sure all your electrical equipment is safe to use, so you should regularly inspect, test and maintain electrical appliances to make sure they’re compliant.

If you don’t do this, you could be putting yourself, your employees and your business at risk.

More information about electrical equipment testing and the law

What needs testing in an electrical equipment inspection?

Broadly speaking, anything that is plugged into a power source needs to be tested.

This includes everything from the office photocopier and computer monitors, through to the kettle and microwave in the kitchen.

More information about what needs electrical equipment testing

How often do you need to have your electrical equipment tested?

We'd recommend having your equipment tested every year to ensure it remains safe.

We offer a free reminder service where we will call you a few months before your testing is due.

What is tested during an electrical equipment inspection?

We carry out a number of tests when we inspect your electrical equipment:

  1. A visual examination – We look for any damage that may cause an appliance to be faulty. Visual checks are extremely important as most fails happen at this stage. Things we look out for include: 
    • Cracks and dents in the product casing
    • Scorch marks and overheating
    • Damage to the leads or plug
    • If the right size fuse has been used
    • Whether the appliance has adequate ventilation
  2. An in-depth inspection and test – This helps us pick up on any damage that may not be immediately visible. It includes earth continuity, lead polarity and insulation resistance checks. With microwave ovens, we carry out an additional test to ensure that there are no radiation leaks
  3. Function check - Once we’ve completed these tests, we conduct a function check to ensure that everything works as it should

What happens after the test?

When we have tested a piece of equipment, there are two different outcomes:

  • Pass - If the equipment passes, we put one of our barcoded labels on it to show that it has passed inspection. You can then use it as normal!
  • Fail - if the equipment fails, we label it and remove it from the office environment so that nobody is tempted to use it. You can then decide it you want to get it repaired or dispose of it safely

We provide you with a report that shows the images of the failed equipment, where it is located and why it failed inspection, like the one below.

Electrical equipment testing report

We supply you with a certificate afterwards to show that the work has been completed.

You can show this certificate to your insurance provider if they request it.

How much does electrical equipment testing cost?

It depends on how many units need to be inspected, as well as the needs of your business.

We offer competitive rates so if you are interested in a free no-obligation quote, get in touch with us today.