In: PAT Testing

PAT tests are an important sector of health and safety policies which contain legal and technical requirements. It has been recorded by the Health & Safety Executive that 25% of all reported electrical accidents are a result of a faulty portable appliance, which is why PAT tests are strongly recommended. It is important that PAT tests are completed in order to maintain health and safety at work. PAT tests depend on the risk of the appliance becoming faulty.

The National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) recommend that PAT tests are required for “any electrical item which is intended to be moved whilst connected to an electrical supply”. The IEE Code of Practice highlights regulations on which type of PAT tests a certain appliance requires because the type of PAT tests carried out varies depending on the size and usage of an appliance. An appliance which weighs less than 18kg requires a PAT tests to ensure that a portable appliance is able to move from one place to another whilst in use.

How are PAT tests done? A PAT test is completed by a qualified portable appliance tester/trained portable appliance tester and there are several procedures involved in a PAT test. One way how to complete PAT tests is when a PAT tester visually scrutinizes an appliance, in particular the plug and cables will require PAT tests in order to recognise signs of hazard. This is an affective method of PAT testing because according to the HSE this approach to PAT tests can find more than 90% of faults. An additional approach on completing a PAT tests is through user checks. This procedure is when users are advised on how to avoid any potential danger, for example, a frayed cable or cracked plug. If this is the case then an individual partaking in PAT tests is advised that the plug is not to be tampered with.

In the formal inspection of PAT tests there are certain signs to be aware of:

• Wreckage of the mains plug
• Overheating
• Damage to external casing of the equipment, or loose parts and/or screws

The formal PAT tests procedure should also contain removal of the plug cover and an analysis of:

• The cord grip has a tight hold of the outer part of the cable
• The Live, Neutral and Earth wires are attached to the correct terminals
• No visible bare wires
• Tight and secure screwing of the terminal screws
• Signs of internal drainage

PAT tests consist of visual inspections which include tests to check the appliance casing, plug damage and wiring and an electrical test. Depending whether or not the appliance has passed or failed a sticker will be stuck on each appliance signifying whether the appliance has failed or passed PAT tests, along with a PAT test certificate if the property passes.

PAT tests are essential in regards to a company’s health and safety policy to ensure that staffs are not harmed or at danger by any electrical equipment within a business premises. PAT tests should be performed regularly to protect employees and customers against any accidents and liability within the workplace. In a place of work PAT tests are crucial and should be scheduled yearly in order to ensure maximum protection of employees and to protect the employer from being liable if there is faulty equipment which may cause injury.

Landlords are required to complete PAT tests on a regular basis, especially if they are renting their property through an estate agent. A landlord must provide a PAT test certificate in order to ensure that appliances for their tenants are safe for them. For factories, schools and other places of education PAT tests may prevent fires and injuries which is why portable appliances require testing, and PAT tests ensure this safety.