PAT testing, otherwise known as Portable Appliance Testing is the evaluation of portable electrical equipment to ensure they are in a safe condition to use in a working facility. The test, usually, includes three steps. Regular, informal checks are done by the electrical equipment’s users. There is also a visual inspection, and a manual examination of the item using a portable appliance tester device.
If you are a business and searching for the best PAT testing in London, consider giving this guide a quick read.
Who needs to do PAT testing?
All businesses that use portable electrical equipment and appliances are recommended for PAT tests. Whether you are a landlord, a hotel, a restaurant, an office, a healthcare setting or a construction site, the PAT test is for you all. Those who are self-employed also do PAT tests on their equipment.
Is it a legal obligation?
PAT testing is not necessarily a legal obligation. However, the law wants workplaces to maintain safety by ensuring electrical equipment and appliances are safe without posing any harm to people around.
If you have decided to carry out PAT testing, make sure you work with experts and professionals. This makes it easier for you to meet the health and safety requirements while protecting your workers.
What does the test include?
The HSE or Health & Safety Executive advises that PAT testing should involve three steps that are mentioned in the following:
Step 1 – user checks
Users should possess basic training on using the equipment safely, and be familiar with the danger signs while doing the test. They must be confident in both visually checking the equipment for obvious signs of damage, and potential risks like cables trapped under desks at a workplace.
Step 2 – a visual inspection
Before carrying out the Central London PAT testing, a visual inspection should be done. The HSE believes that this visual inspection process can point out a majority of problems if done by a professional who has got the relevant training and experience.
Before starting the visual inspection, the following is the checklist you want to follow:
Whether there are any signs of damage in the plug including cracks, or burns is needed to be checked. See if the wiring is right. All the conductors should be tightly connected to their relevant terminals.
The electrician will visually check the cable for any damage. This may include fraying, abrasions or cuts. If there is any exposed wiring, it will be visible.
The person will check for signs of damage in the appliance, including burns, cracks, corrosion, wear and tear
The mains socket
While this is not a main part of the test, it is needed during the visual inspection.
RCD (Residual Current Device)
Inspecting the RCDs will help look for signs of damage. It will also check the current and test the button to make sure everything is in working order.
This checks for trip issues from overloaded extension leads, cables, fire hazards or water risks.
Step 3 – portable appliance test
The PAT test needs to be carried out by a registered professional with adequate training and experience.
During the test, the appliance will be checked for earth continuity, insulation resistance, and lead polarity, among others. This will show if the equipment has passed or failed the test.
If an appliance fails the test, it should be removed right away, either to be replaced or repaired. After the repair, the item must pass another PAT test.
Who should carry out a PAT test?
The visual inspection should be done by a professional with appropriate knowledge about PAT testing. In a low-risk environment, given the right training, anyone can handle the task.
However, in a high-risk environment, or when the item demands inspection and testing, an experienced professional is needed who has expertise in the field. He or she should be trained enough to do the test and have the right set of equipment to undertake the job.
Should you PAT test your employees’ personal equipment?
This is something you should not ignore. You, as an employer, have a joint responsibility along with your employee to keep the equipment safe for their job. The equipment includes personal laptops, fans, desk lighting or other electrical equipment.
Who should be liable for PAT testing in the workplace?
All equipment users need to have training in how to safely use electrical equipment and know the warning signs to look for. These may include loose wiring, cracks or burns.
In most workplaces, they have duty holders that are responsible for doing regular visual inspections to ensure safety. They must ensure annual PAT tests are done and have the results handy. They should get extra training to make sure they have the most current knowledge and understanding of the job.
What is a PAT test certificate?
It is provided by a PAT tester to a business owner after testing their portable appliances. The certificate is a useful way to prove compliance with insurers, regulators, customers and working staff.
What is the standard cost of the PAT test?
This solely depends on the type of appliance and the total number of items that need testing. All in all, PAT tests are affordable. They are the most convenient way to meet safety obligations.
Should you keep a record of the test?
No, it is not a legal requirement that you need to keep a record of the test. However, you can do so to protect your business and the people working for you. Thus, it becomes easier for you to prove your compliance.