What is PAT or P.A.T Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) is the term used to describe the examination and testing of electrical appliances
and equipment, conducted by a series of visual and electrical tests to ensure they are safe for use.

Is PAT Testing a legal requirement?

The law requires employers, companies, landlords etc to ensure that their electrical equipment used by staff, members of the public, tenants etc is properly maintained in order to prevent danger.

The law does not state how this should be done or how often. With a regular PAT Testing schedule in place, carried out by thorough, competent engineers, you will know your equipment meets these requirements and is safe to use.

What does PAT Testing involve?

Each appliance to be tested, will receive a number of visual and electrical tests depending on the type and construction of the appliance.

The visual checks are carried out first, and include the following:
  • Checking the flex for damage
  • Checking the plug for damage, correct wiring and fuse, signs of overheating, harnessed flex
  • Checking the casing of the appliance for damage, missing switches etc
  • Checking the equipment is suitable for it's environment
The electrical test/s are then carried out (depending on the class of appliance) and may include the following:
  • Earth continuity testing
  • Insulation resistance
  • Polarity test
  • Earth leakage test

How often should I have my PAT Testing carried out?

The frequency of inspection and testing depends upon the type of equipment and the environment it is used in. 
For example, a power tool used on a construction site should be examined more frequently than a lamp in a hotel bedroom. 
An office that has sockets in the floors with trap door style covers are more likely to cause damage to flexes and cables than sockets that are placed at a waist high level.

There are guidelines laid down in The IEE Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment 
(4th Edition) and on the HSE website.

It would be advisable to check with your insurance company first, to see if they stipulate re-test frequencies. Ideally, a risk assessment should be carried out and a PAT Testing schedule be put in place relevant to the various types of appliances and the environments in which they are used.

What could happen if I'm not PAT Tested?

In the event of an incident, regarding an electrical appliance of yours.You would need to prove that you had a regular preventative maintenance schedule in place to avoid being liable. PAT Testing along with regular user/nominated person visual checks would be one such program.

Without being able to prove that such a program was in place, the responsible person would become liable and could face prosecution.

Many insurance companies assume that when giving insurance cover to a business, the owners of that business are complying with all regulations necessary. An insurance company may reduce, delay or even refuse to pay on a claim for damage if an appliance that has not been tested has caused the damage.

What will I receive once PAT Testing is completed?

Upon testing completion, you will receive the following:
  • Failure report, completed by the engineer on the day 
  • Fully itemised test report (within 1 working day of testing completion)
  • Pass certificate (within 1 working day of testing completion)

This page is still under construction.