What do you need to get PAT tested?


Image: What do you need to get PAT tested?

If you are looking to arrange PAT testing (electrical equipment testing) for your office, shop or school, you will be asked how many units need testing.

If you are new to PAT testing you may not be sure what to say. 

This short guide will go into detail about what needs testing as part of your company’s PAT testing procedures.

What needs PAT testing?

Broadly speaking, any electrical equipment that is plugged into a power source (for example, a socket) counts as a unit and will need PAT testing.

This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Monitors
  • Laptops
  • Phone chargers
  • White goods like dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers and microwaves

There are a few weird and wonderful things we're asked to test for our customers too!

Does equipment that isn’t portable need PAT testing?

Yes, and this is where the term ‘PAT testing’ (portable appliance testing) can be misleading. 

You need to test large pieces of equipment that are hard to move like vending machines and refrigerators.

You also need to PAT test fixed appliances - integrated or hard-wired equipment that is wired into the wall like towel rails and storage heaters. This type of electrical equipment may not have a plug, but it still runs off the mains.

In summary - as long as a piece of electrical equipment is plugged into a power source and runs off mains electricity, it needs PAT testing. It doesn't matter if it is a portable appliance or not.

Is there anything that doesn’t need PAT testing?

If you have electrical equipment that runs off batteries rather than the mains (for example a wireless keyboard or mouse), you don’t need to test them.

Some equipment may not be able to be tested under regular PAT procedures. For example, medical equipment in hospitals needs specialist testing.

Would cordless equipment and battery-operated tools (e.g. a cordless drill or vacuum cleaner) need testing?

Battery-operated equipment and cordless equipment do not need PAT testing, as they are not powered by mains electricity.

However, any battery chargers that power the equipment would need testing as these plug into the wall and charge the equipment.

Do I need to get an electric bike PAT tested?

Although you wouldn't have to get an electric bike PAT tested as it runs off a battery, we would recommend testing the charger, as this plugs into the mains.

Does new equipment need PAT testing?

Some people think that there is a legal requirement to have new equipment PAT tested, but this is not the case.

As long as you have bought your equipment from a reliable retailer, then it doesn’t need PAT testing straight away. This is because it should have been provided to you in a safe working condition.

Just do a quick visual examination before you use it to make sure there are no major issues. For example, it could have got damaged in transit or while it was being delivered.

Things to check include:

  • Does the packaging look authentic?
  • Is the casing of the appliance cracked, warped, discoloured, scorched or burned?
  • Is the cable split, damaged or twisted?
  • Are the pins in the plug loose?
  • Is it lighter than you were expecting? Some counterfeit products don’t have as many components as their authentic counterparts
  • Does the plug have the BSi kitemark or CE mark on it?
  • Does the plug easily fit into a socket?
  • Can you hear, see or smell anything that is not normal when you plug it in? If the answer is yes, turn it off and unplug it straight away

If you’re not 100% that the equipment is safe to use, then don’t use it. If you have bought from a retailer you are entitled to a refund, repair or replacement under the Consumer Rights Act.

If all is okay, you can then get it added to your inventory ready for your next round of PAT testing.

Does second-hand equipment need PAT testing?

The Health and Safety at Work Act requires that all products supplied for use at work or home (whether they are new or second-hand) are supplied in a safe condition. This includes providing the equipment with the relevant operator handbook or manuals.

This means that you don’t need to factor your equipment into your PAT testing schedule straightaway.

However, we would recommend carrying out a visual examination before using the equipment for the first time. Check the plug, cable and casing for damage, and make sure the plug has the BSi kitemark or CE mark on it.

If you are not 100% confident that the equipment is safe to use, don’t use it.

If you are buying a second-hand product, it is worth asking if a PAT test has recently been carried out. This helps to show that the product has been tested and is safe for use.

Does hire equipment need PAT testing?

The answer is… it depends on how long the hire takes place for.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 states that hire companies must deliver electrical equipment to hirers in a safe condition. 

Hired/leased equipment must be considered as new equipment when supplied for the first time to the hirer, so it should work and be safe. 

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) recommends that the hirer carry out a quick visual inspection before using the hire equipment though, to be on the safe side.

However, if the hirer is hiring the equipment for an extended period (i.e. over a week), and it doesn’t specify otherwise in the contract, the hirer is responsible for the safety of the equipment.

This means that the hirer must continue to ensure that the equipment is safe for use, which may include the use of PAT testing.

So, whether it’s a vending machine, audio-visual equipment or heavy plant machinery, make sure that you factor leased equipment into your testing schedule.


Do plug sockets and extension leads need testing?

Extension leads and cables need to be PAT tested, as they plug into sockets.

More information about using extension leads and cables safely

Sockets that are in the wall do not need PAT testing, but you do need to arrange for them to be inspected under EICR.

Registering your electrical equipment

We recommend that you register any new equipment you buy with the manufacturer. That way, if a recall happens, the manufacturer can get in touch with you to offer a replacement or refund.

There will be a card to fill in or a website to visit. This information should be included in the packaging. If not, you can use the register my appliance website.

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

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

Next blog: PAT testing and the law

Previous blog: A guide to PAT testing in the office