PAT Testing

PAT Testing

PAT Testing requirementsThere 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:

  1. The risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work, and
  2. 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 PremisesType of Equipment Note (1)User Checks Note (2)Class IClass 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)
1Construction Sites 110 V EquipmentSNone1 month3 months1 month3 months
ITNone1 month3 months1 month3 months
M#Weekly1 month3 months1 month3 months
P#Weekly1 month3 months1 month3 months
H#Weekly1 month3 months1 month3 months
2Industrial Including Commercial KitchensSWeeklyNone12 monthsNone12 months
ITWeeklyNone12 monthsNone12 months
MBefore Use1 month12 months3 months12 months
PBefore Use1 month6 months3 months6 months
HBefore Use1 month6 months3 months6 months
3Equipment Used by the PublicSNote (6)+monthly12 months3 months12 months
ITNote (6)+Monthly12 months3 months12 months
MNote (6)+Weekly6 months1 month12 months
PNote (6)+Weekly6 months1 month12 months
HNote (6)+Weekly6 months1 month12 months
4SchoolsSWeekly+None12 months12 months48 months
ITWeekly+None12 months12 months48 months
MWeekly+4 months12 months4 months48 months
PWeekly+4 months12 months4 months48 months
HBefore use+4 months12 months4 months48 months
5HotelsSNone24 months48 months24 monthsNone
ITNone24 months48 months24 monthsNone
MWeekly12 months24 months24 monthsNone
PWeekly12 months24 months24 monthsNone
HBefore Use6 months12 months6 monthsNone
6Offices and shopsSNone24 months48 months24 monthsNone
ITNone24 months48 months24 monthsNone
MWeekly12 months24 months24 monthsNone
PWeekly12 months24 months24 monthsNone
HBefore Use6 months12 months6 monthsNone

(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.

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