There are no hard and fast rules set out by the Health and Safety Executive on the frequency of PAT testing. However, it is suggested in the Memorandum on the Electricity at Work Regulations that “regular inspection of equipment is an essential part of any preventative maintenance program.” The frequency of PAT testing for each appliance and situation requires individual assessment and judgment from the person with the equipment within his control, together with the competent test person, also based on the following factors:
– Types of equipment (portable, handheld appliances such as a hairdryer/ drill are more likely to get damaged than fixed ones like a computer).
– Whether or not the users use the equipment competently and would report damage as and when it happens so that hazards can be avoided
– The frequency of PAT testing required will also depend on the frequency of use of the appliance and whether it is likely to receive abuse
– The age of the equipment
– If regularly moved and by what means
– Environment – some areas will be more hazardous than others; equipment used in a building site for example is likely to be subjected to more adverse conditions than an office and the frequency of PAT testing should be increased.
– Results of previous tests
– Manufacturers recommendations/ equipment construction
– The effects of any repairs or modifications to the equipment
When deciding the frequency of PAT testing required it is also important to take into consideration whether or not the piece of equipment will remain safe under its expected conditions until the next test date. It is imperative you take advice from the PAT testing engineer.
It is also worth bearing in mind that new equipment must be purchased from reliable sources and second hand appliances should not be used unless PAT testing is completed to ensure its safety first. Always perform a visual test at minimum before allowing a new appliance to be used.
The vital thing to consider when making a decision on suitable frequency of PAT testing periods is the need to demonstrate your company’s commitment to Health and Safety policy.
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