PAT testing and the law

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PAT testing and the law

Not sure what you need to do in regards to keeping your electrical equipment safe? Here are the rules and regulations when it comes to PAT testing for both businesses and rental properties.

The law surrounding electrical equipment and PAT testing

We are often asked if it is a legal requirement to have equipment PAT tested.

There are no laws in place that specify you are required to carry out PAT testing (also known as electrical equipment testing) in your office building or rental property.

However, there are some laws in place that specify that as a duty-holder, it is your responsibility to keep your employees and customers safe.

If you fail to do this, you could be liable for a fine or prison sentence.

These regulations include:

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work Act advises that "it shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees."

This means that it is your responsibility to make sure that the working environment is safe for all employees.

This applies to staff that might be working from home too: "so far as is reasonably practicable as regards any place of work under the employer’s control."

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states that you must keep all electrical equipment that could cause injury in a safe condition.

"As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger".

Electrical equipment can be dangerous if not well-maintained. Not only can equipment cause electric shock, but a malfunction or overload can result in an electrical fire.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (also known as PUWER) requires that equipment provided for use at work is maintained in a safe condition and regularly inspected to ensure it does not become dangerous to use.

"Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair."

"Every employer shall ensure that work equipment exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations is inspected at suitable intervals and each time that exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the work equipment have occurred."

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that employers carry out risk assessments to identify the dangers to employees, customers and site visitors. The employee must also and take measures to mitigate against these risks.

"Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work, and the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking."

This risk assessment may identify the need for PAT testing to take place, in order to keep people safe.

The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992

The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 were created to ensure that staff operate in a safe, clean and well-lit environment. The regulations also apply to non-employees who may use the premises.

Ensuring that electrical equipment is well-maintained reduces the risk of it malfunctioning and causing illness or injury.

"The workplace and the equipment, devices and systems to which this regulation applies shall be maintained (including cleaned as appropriate) in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. Where appropriate, the equipment, devices and systems to which this regulation applies shall be subject to a suitable system of maintenance."

Do I need to get PAT testing done for insurance purposes?

Your insurance company may require that you carry out PAT testing for your public liability and employer’s liability cover to be valid.

We’d recommend checking with your insurance provider to see what specific rules and regulations they have in place.

Is PAT testing a legal requirement in Scotland?

PAT testing is not a legal requirement in commercial buildings in Scotland.

However, it is a legal requirement if you own a long-term rental property.

More information about PAT testing for landlords.

Do I need to get PAT testing done if I am a landlord?

Front of a property

It depends on where your rental property (or properties) are based, and what type of property they are.

PAT testing is a legal requirement in Scotland and needs to be carried out alongside EICR inspections.

If you are a Houses In Multiple Occupation (HMO) landlord in the UK, you may have to carry out PAT testing. The specific rules can vary from council to council, so we would recommend checking with your local authority. 

You don’t have to get PAT testing done if you rent out other types of properties in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, but as duty-holder, it can be the right way of showing your tenants you are keeping them safe.

More information about PAT testing for landlords.

Bear in mind that it is a legal requirement for you to have your electrical installations (e.g. sockets and light fittings) tested through EICR if your property is in England or Scotland.

In summary

It is a legal requirement that you keep your equipment well-maintained to protect your employees and customers from harm.

The most effective way to ensure your electrical equipment is safe is by carrying out regular PAT testing.

If you have any additional questions about the PAT testing rules and how they relate to your specific business needs, please get in touch.

If you are looking for a company to carry out your PAT testing, Hawkesworth is here to help.

We provide cost-effective, friendly and professional electrical equipment testing service across the UK and Ireland, helping to keep your business compliant.


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