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PAT Testing

PAT Testing

Let Peeko take care of your PAT Testing and we will help you:

Improve Site Safety
Ensure appliances are in a safe condition by performing regular PAT testing
Raise Employee Awareness
Peeko can provide PAT training, from online courses for stakeholders to full on-site PAT training
Maintain HSE Compliance
Fulfill your obligations under the H&S at Work, PUWER, Management of H&S at work & Electricity at Work acts & regulations
Reduce Fire Risk
Remove faulty appliances, overloaded extension leads and items not fit for purpose from service
Reduce Insurance Premiums
By performing PAT as part of a scheduled electrical maintenance scheme
Focus On Your Core Business
Peeko can provide a fully managed service. One less headache to worry about

Control & Track Assets

Know what appliances are where from the results of our post-test reports
Prolong Appliance Lifespan
Plan appliance maintenance based on the results of the PAT testing

What is PAT Testing?

Put simply, PAT Testing is process where an item of electrical equipment is routinely checked for safety. Sometimes know as “PAT Inspection”, “PAT” or it’s official title of “In-Service Inspection & Testing”, PAT testing can be broken down into three main elements.

  1. User checks
  2. Formal visual inspections
  3. Combined inspection & PAT test
“Over 99% of rectifiable faults are found by a trained eye at the visual inspection stage.”


1. User checks

A user check is a process where the end-user checks the electrical equipment on a regular basis. The idea behind it is that obvious safety concerns, such as a cracked plug, frayed cable or signs of burning can be spotted before use by staff. This information can be raised to a supervisor who can take appropriate action, referring the portable appliance to be repaired or taken out of service completely. Different categories of appliance have different recommended intervals between user checks, and time-lengths also vary depending on the environment in which it is used.

2. Formal visual inspections

Formal visual inspections are carried out by a PAT test engineer or other equally competent person. The cable, plug (including the fuse & internal wiring) and the appliance itself are inspected for any errors, signs of damage or wear & tear that may render the appliance unsafe. Common errors that are found are fuses that are insufficient for the power rating of the appliance (this is very common if a new plug has been fitted, as most British Standard plugs come fitted with a 13amp fuse), incorrectly wired plugs and damage to the product casing. Over 95% of all PAT testing failures will be found at the visual inspection stage. The current recommendation from the IET is to have formal visual inspections carried out twice as often as the combined inspection & PAT testing.

“Over 95% of all appliance failures will be picked up by visual inspection”

3. Combined inspection & PAT test

The combined inspection & PAT test is exactly that. First a PAT test engineer will visually inspect the appliance, before performing a series of electrical tests on the appliance using an annually calibrated PAT tester. The two main tests that are carried out are the Earth Continuity (or Earth Bond) test and the Insulation test.

Earth Continuity test

The Earth Continuity test is carried out to check there are no problems with the earth wire of the appliance. In the event of a fault in your appliance, the earth wire is designed as a low resistance path for fault currents to flow down. All exposed metal parts of the appliance should be connected to this earth wire, allowing the current to flow ‘to ground’ and blowing the fuse to break the circuit. If there is a fault with the earth wire and this cannot happen, the metal parts of the appliance will potentially be live, exposing the user to a potential electric shock.

Insulation test

The Insulation (sometimes Insulation Resistance) test is designed to ensure that the insulation surrounding the appliance and its live parts is of a suitably high level. When the appliance is in use, it is important that live parts are protected from the user to prevent risk of an electric shock when using.

Function test

The function test is carried out once the engineer has established that the appliance is safe to use. The appliance is plugged in to the mains and is checked to make sure that it is working correctly.


The Law

PAT Testing is not a legal requirement, however, you may be required to PAT Test for one of many reasons. One of which might be to display that you are operating your business in compliance with the following regulations & acts.

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

This Act puts a duty of care upon both the employer (Sections 2,3 and 4 etc.) and employee (Section 7) to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self-employed.

  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, states :

Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of:

a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed while they are at work, and

b) 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 (Regulation 3).

  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, states:

Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair (Regulation 5).

Where the safety of work equipment depends on installation conditions, and where conditions of work are liable to lead to deterioration, the equipment shall be inspected (Regulation 6).

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 and is only used for work which it is suitable(Regulation 4).

  • The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, states :

As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger (Regulation 4).


PAT Testing shouldn’t be done just to protect yourself from non-compliance of Heath & Safety legislation – here are a few more items that you should be aware of when deciding whether to test your portable appliances or not.

Fire Risk

It is possible that you may be refused a fire certificate if your portable appliances have not been tested, or your test date has expired. This would almost certainly void your insurance in the event of such an accident.

Over 25% of fires are started due to faulty electrical equipment.

Regular PAT Testing of your equipment would ensure that faults are found and unrepairable items removed from service.

Insurance

It may be the case that your insurance terms & conditions state that all appliances must be regularly tested. If you cannot see it stated explicitly, look for text such as ‘all reasonable precautions’. In the event of an accident, the insurance company’s legal department would almost certainly argue that PAT testing is a reasonable precaution.

Other items to be mindful of may include;

Tenancy & Lease Agreements

As with the insurance loophole above, it may be that your landlord has stipulated in the terms & conditions of your agreement that you must either PAT test or take all reasonable precautions to avoid an accident. Failure to comply might leave you with a hefty bill in the event of an accident.

View our case studies page for some examples of the above.

Source: NewBusiness – External link will open in new window.


“How often do I need to test equipment in my business?” is a question often get asked. The reason so many people are unclear about PAT testing frequency is that it’s not a simple question to answer. The first step is to make sure you’re not bound by a tenancy or lease agreement – it may specify how often you need to PAT test. After that, check your insurance terms & conditions as these sometimes specify when to test also.

If you’re happy that you satisfy these criteria then you can follow the links below to see the up-to-date (revised by the IET Nov 2012) recommendations for your business premises.

PAT testing frequency by business type

The following tables are a guideline taken from the IET code of conduct 4th Edition (published November 2012). They should be used as a starting point for your own individual risk assessments. You may be bound to more frequent PAT testing by a lease or tenancy agreement, by the primary contractor/owner of the premises you’re visiting or in the terms & conditions of any insurance policies you may hold, so please check these first.

Offices

Office PAT Testing Frequency

Class I Class II
 User Check  Visual Check  PAT Test  Visual Check  PAT Test
Stationary  None  24 months  48 months  24 months  None
Information Technology  None  24 months  48 months  24 months  None
Moveable  Weekly  12 months  24 months  24 months  None
Portable  Weekly  12 months  24 months  24 months  None
Handheld  Before use  6 months  12 months  6 months  None

Shops

Shop PAT Testing Frequency

Class I Class II
 User Check  Visual Check  PAT Test  Visual Check  PAT Test
Stationary  None  24 months  48 months  24 months  None
Information Technology  None  24 months  48 months  24 months  None
Moveable  Weekly  12 months  24 months  24 months  None
Portable  Weekly  12 months  24 months  24 months  None
Handheld  Before use  6 months  12 months  6 months  None

Schools

School PAT Testing Frequency

Class I Class II
 User Check  Visual Check  PAT Test  Visual Check  PAT Test
Stationary  Weekly  None  12 months  12 months  48 months
Information Technology  Weekly  None  12 months  12 months  48 months
Moveable  Weekly  4 months  12 months  3 months  48 months
Portable  Weekly  4 months  12 months  3 months  48 months
Handheld  Before use  4 months  12 months  4 months  48 months

Industrial Units

Industrial PAT Testing Frequency

Class I Class II
 User Check  Visual Check  PAT Test  Visual Check  PAT Test
Stationary  Weekly  None  12 months  None  12 months
Information Technology  Weekly  None  12 months  None  12 months
Moveable  Before use  1 month  12 months  3 months  12 months
Portable  Before use  1 month  6 months  3 months  6 months
Handheld  Before use  1 month  6 months  3 months  6 months

Hotels

Hotel PAT Testing Frequency

Class I Class II
 User Check  Visual Check  PAT Test  Visual Check  PAT Test
Stationary  None  24 months  48 months  24 months  None
Information Technology  None  24 months  48 months  24 months  None
Moveable  Weekly  12 months  24 months  24 months  None
Portable  Weekly  12 months  24 months  24 months  None
Handheld  Before use  6 months  12 months  6 months  None

Commercial Kitchens

Commercial Kitchen PAT Testing Frequency

Class I Class II
 User Check  Visual Check  PAT Test  Visual Check  PAT Test
Stationary  Weekly  None  12 months  None  12 months
Information Technology  Weekly  None  12 months  None  12 months
Moveable  Before use  1 month  12 months  3 months  12 months
Portable  Before use  1 month  6 months  3 months  6 months
Handheld  Before use  1 month  6 months  3 months  6 months

Construction Sites

Construction Site PAT Testing Frequency

Class I Class II
 User Check  Visual Check  PAT Test  Visual Check  PAT Test
Stationary  None  1 month  3 months  1 month  3 months
Information Technology  None  1 month  3 months  1 month  3 months
Movable  Weekly  1 month  3 months  1 month  3 months
Portable  Weekly  1 month  3 months  1 month  3 months
Handheld  Weekly  1 month  3 months  1 month  3 months

Equipment used by the public

Public Equipment PAT Testing Frequency

Class I Class II
 User Check  Visual Check  PAT Test  Visual Check  PAT Test
Stationary  Maybe daily*  1 month  12 months  3 months  12 months
Information Technology  Maybe daily*  1 month  12 months  3 months  12 months
Movable  Maybe daily*  1 week  6 months  1 month  12 months
Portable  Maybe daily*  1 week  6 months  1 month  12 months
Handheld  Maybe daily*  1 week  6 months  1 month  12 months

* Full risk assessment must be carried out by responsible party. Decision must be made after considering the following:

  1. Type of equipment (portable, hand held or transportable)
  2. Style of use (continuous, infrequent, rough)
  3. Age of the equipment
  4. If regularly moved or transported and by what means
  5. Type and competence of personnel using the equipment
  6. Environment of usage (outdoors, construction sites, hazardous atmospheres etc).
  7. Results of previous tests
  8. Manufacturer’s recommendations
  9. Effect of any modifications or repairs to the equipment