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PAT Testing Requirements

Pat Testing Requirements.

Portable Appliance Testing, PAT Testing, Megger PAT4

There is no legal requirement to have PAT testing carried out however....

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 puts a duty of care on both the employer and employee  to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state:

“Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient of:

a) The risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work, and

b) 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”. (Requlation 3(1))

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 state:

“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided”. (Regulation 4(1))

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state:

As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is practicable, such danger”. (Regulation 4(2))

“’System’ means an electrical system in which all of the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and equipment”. (Regulation 2(1))

“Electrical equipment includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy”. (Regulation 2(1))

The combination of these acts and regulations makes it clear that all items of electrical equipment are covered from large transformers to a VDU or telephone.

Despite it not being statutory many companies do get their portable equipment PAT tested in order to comply with their requirements to ensure safe working conditions. It is their way of proving to a court of law that they are endeavouring to protect their employees. Depending on their risk assessments the interval between tests can vary. Some companies prefer to have everything tested every 12 months for peace of mind. Others vary their intervals according to the likelihood of damage occurring. The IEE Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment contains the following table of suggested intervals between testing.

 

Table 1 - Suggested Initial Frequency of Inspection and Testing of Equipment

 

Type of Premises

Type of Equipment Note (1)

User Checks Note (2)

Class I

Class II Note (4)

Formal Visual Inspection Note (3)

Combined Inspection and Testing Note (5)

Formal Visual Inspection Note (3)

Combined Inspection and Testing Note (5)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1

Construction Sites 110 V Equipment

S

None

1 month

3 months

1 month

3 months

IT

None

1 month

3 months

1 month

3 months

M#

Weekly

1 month

3 months

1 month

3 months

P#

Weekly

1 month

3 months

1 month

3 months

H#

Weekly

1 month

3 months

1 month

3 months

2

Industrial Including Commercial Kitchens

S

Weekly

None

12 months

None

12 months

IT

Weekly

None

12 months

None

12 months

M

Before Use

1 month

12 months

3 months

12 months

P

Before Use

1 month

6 months

3 months

6 months

H

Before Use

1 month

6 months

3 months

6 months

3

Equipment Used by the Public

S

Note (6)+

monthly

12 months

3 months

12 months

IT

Note (6)+

Monthly

12 months

3 months

12 months

M

Note (6)+

Weekly

6 months

1 month

12 months

P

Note (6)+

Weekly

6 months

1 month

12 months

H

Note (6)+

Weekly

6 months

1 month

12 months

4

Schools

S

Weekly+

None

12 months

12 months

48 months

IT

Weekly+

None

12 months

12 months

48 months

M

Weekly+

4 months

12 months

4 months

48 months

P

Weekly+

4 months

12 months

4 months

48 months

H

Before use+

4 months

12 months

4 months

48 months

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

Hotels

S

None

24 months

48 months

24 months

None

IT

None

24 months

48 months

24 months

None

M

Weekly

12 months

24 months

24 months

None

P

Weekly

12 months

24 months

24 months

None

H

Before Use

6 months

12 months

6 months

None

6

Offices and shops

S

None

24 months

48 months

24 months

None

IT

None

24 months

48 months

24 months

None

M

Weekly

12 months

24 months

24 months

None

P

Weekly

12 months

24 months

24 months

None

H

Before Use

6 months

12 months

6 months

None

 

 

(1)           S              Stationary Equipment
IT             Information Technology Equipment
M             Moveable Equipment
P              Portable Equipment
H             Hand Held Equipment

(2)           User checks are not recorded unless a fault is found

(3)           The formal visual inspection may form part of the combined inspection and tests when they coincide, and must be recorded.

(4)           If class of equipment is not known, it must be tested as Class 1.

(5)           The results of combined inspections and test are recorded.

(6)           For some equipment such as children’s rides a daily check may be necessary

(+)           By supervisor / teacher / member of staff

#              110V earthed centre tapped supply. 230V portable or hand held equipment must be supplied via a 30 mA RCD and inspections and tests carried out more frequently.

The information on suggested initial frequencies given above is more detailed and specific than HSE guidance, but is not considered to be inconsistent with it.

 

These intervals are not rigid and are to be ascertained from a company’s risk assessment. A N Powell Electrical recommends the above table as a means of calculating the maximum interval between formal inspection and testing of portable electrical appliances. Generally it makes common sense that an extension lead on a construction site is more susceptible to damage than a PC on an office desk that will never be moved.

In an office situation, assets that are more likely to be damaged by use – laptop chargers that are often put into bags possibly damaging leads and communal vacuum cleaners for instance – would need formal inspection and testing more often than those less likely to be damage – such as a printer power supply. It is due to these deviations that some companies test all of their assets every 12 months.