It is highly recommended that electrical equipment is PAT tested because it is 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 it is required for appliances to be PAT tested. It is important that appliances have been PAT tested because it maintains health and safety at work. PAT tests depend on the risk of the equipment becoming faulty. It is important that businesses have their equipment PAT tested to ensure that staffs are not harmed or at danger by any electrical equipment within a business premises.
The National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) state that appliances which should be PAT tested are “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 appliance needs to be PAT tested because the type of tests carried out varies depending on the size and usage of an appliance. An appliance which weighs less than 18kg has to be PAT tested to ensure that a portable appliance is able to move from one place to another whilst in use.
Equipment is PAT tested by a qualified portable appliance tester/trained PAT tester and there are several procedures involved when an appliance needs to be PAT tested. One way how an appliance is PAT tested is when a PAT tester visually scrutinizes an appliance, in particular the plug and cables will need to be PAT tested in order to recognise signs of hazard. This is an affective method of having equipment PAT tested because according to the HSE this approach can find more than 90% of faults. An additional approach of how to have an appliance PAT tested 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 the individual is advised that the plug is not to be tampered with.
Appliances can be PAT tested through a formal inspection, there are certain signs to be aware of:
• Wreckage of the mains plug
• Damage to external casing of the equipment, or loose parts and/or screws
Appliances which have been PAT tested 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
When appliances are being PAT tested a label will be applied on each appliance signifying whether the appliance has failed or passed, along with a PAT test certificate if the property passes.
Landlords should have the electrical supplies in their properties PAT tested on a regular basis, especially if they are renting their property through an estate agent. A landlord must provide evidence (certificate) to show that the property has been PAT tested, in order to ensure that appliances for their tenants are safe to use. For factories, schools and other places of education completion of having appliances PAT tested may prevent fires and injuries which is why portable appliances need to be tested.