When you are in charge of a building, you need to make sure that it stays safe and that staff, visitors and customers are not in any danger.
One of the things that you are responsible for is the electrical equipment and appliances in use in the building. This is in line with guidance including The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and The Electricity at Work Regulations (1999).
Whether you are responsible for a school, office, leisure centre, hotel or healthcare facility here is our comprehensive guide to PAT testing.
- What is PAT testing?
- What should be PAT tested?
- Is PAT testing a legal requirement?
- How often should PAT tests be carried out?
- What tests are carried out?
- Do I need to keep records?
- Do I need to label equipment that has been tested?
- What needs to happen if a piece of equipment fails inspection?
- What happens after the PAT test?
What is PAT testing?
PAT (portable appliance testing) testing is when electrical equipment is checked to make sure it is safe to use. An engineer or electrician will check the electrical equipment visually, as well as for internal faults.
PAT testing is also referred to as electrical equipment testing.
What should be PAT tested?
As a general rule, anything that plugs into the mains should be PAT tested.
This can be anything from computer units and monitors in an office, to television screens and gym equipment in a leisure centre.
Any extension cables and leads need to be tested as well.
The term ‘portable appliance testing’ can be misleading as electrical items that aren’t portable need to be checked too!
Is PAT testing a legal requirement?
PAT testing does not have to be carried out by law.
However, you must keep electrical equipment maintained in a safe condition. PAT testing is the most effective way you can do this.
How often should PAT tests be carried out?
The 5th edition In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment code of practice advises that you carry out a risk assessment to determine how often your equipment needs testing.
This will take into consideration how often the equipment is used, the environment it is used in, as well as its current condition.
What tests are carried out?
When PAT testing is conducted, a visual check takes place. This includes checking for damage to the:
- Plug and cable grip
- Equipment casing
The surrounding conditions are also checked. For example, is the equipment being used in unsafe conditions or is the socket overloaded?
Internal tests are also carried out to check that the equipment is functioning correctly. This includes:
- An earth bond test
- A lead polarity test
- An insulation resistance test
An extra test should be carried out on microwaves to make sure there are no radiation leaks.
Do I need to keep records?
It is not a legal requirement to keep records, but the HSE recommend that you do.
Keeping a log of all equipment and testing dates will help you with maintenance as well as the creation of risk assessments.
Do I need to label equipment that has been tested?
It is not a legal requirement to label equipment that has been inspected.
However, it can be useful from a management perspective and for showing that maintenance has taken place.
A label should state who has tested the equipment, when the equipment was tested and contact details if there are any questions.
At Hawkesworth, we use scannable barcode labels which bring up the maintenance history of a specific piece of equipment.
What needs to happen if a piece of equipment fails inspection?
If a piece of equipment fails its PAT testing inspection, it should be labelled as such (if labels are used) and quarantined.
At Hawkesworth, we label all failed equipment and take a photo. This photo is then included in the PAT testing report so you can see why the equipment is no longer in use.
Your customer can then decide if they want to replace or repair the equipment.
What happens after the PAT test?
When the testing is complete, you will receive a report that details what equipment has been tested, what has passed and what has failed.
As well as the report you will receive a certificate to show the work has been completed.
Responsible for PAT testing? Outsource your testing with Hawkesworth
Outsourcing some of your testing to third-party companies has a range of benefits. Not only does it reduce your costs, but it gives you the flexibility you need to scale your services.
If you are looking to outsource, Hawkesworth provides a professional, cost-effective service, for both you and your customers.
Contact us today to find out more about ‘Passing the PAT’ with Hawkesworth.
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