The Importance of PAT Testing
PAT testing of electrical appliances needs to be an important part of any health & safety policy. The Health & Safety Executive advise that all electrical appliances within all rentable residential properties and all commercial premises undertake annual PAT testing. With the influx of cheap electrical goods from foreign countries due to globalisation, most of these electrical goods have not undergone as strict a testing procedure as UK manufactured goods. Therefore, the regular safety checks of these products becomes of paramount importance.
According to the Health & Safety Executive, portable appliances account for 25% of all reportable electrical accidents. To ensure that no danger results from the use of such portable equipment, Electricity at Work regulations place a legal responsibility on employers and employees to comply with the provision set. Following the obligation of the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974), employers should take reasonable practical steps to ensure no danger results from the use of such equipment in the following circumstances:
1. Where employees use appliances
2. Where appliances may be used by the public, in establishments such as hospitals, schools, hotels, shops, etc.
3. In places where appliances may be hired or supplied.
4. In situations where appliances are serviced or repaired.
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 also point specific relevance to the need of electrical maintenance, and importance of PAT testing.
The ‘Code of Practice for in-service inspection and testing of Electrical Equipment’ document forms the basis for PAT Testing in the UK, published by the Institution of Electrical Engineers. The type of electrical appliance, the risk of the appliance becoming faulty, the nature of its use and the environment in which it is used essentially determines the level of inspection and testing required.
PAT testing involves complex procedures that involve many multiple examinations with multiple variables. Electrical PAT Testing, should be performed by qualified electricians and/or electrical testers, using reliable electrical tester equipment.
The main types of electrical PAT testing equipment that will be used will be electrical multimeters and/or dedicated Portable Appliance Testers. Testers come in a range of models and sizes, from the Kewtech KT71 Hand Held PAT Tester, PAT adaptors to PAT Test Kits that include everything you need test specific electrical appliances.
Once tested, placing a PAT testing label on the appliance with a ‘PASS’, will mark a sure sign to state that the needed safety measures have been taken by manufacturers. Conversely, a ‘FAIL’ will mean the appliance has not met all the testing parameters with success, and should not be used.
PAT testing labels will also specify the date on which the most recent test was conducted, the next date of testing required, as well as the name and contact details of the testing agency. PAT labels may also be coloured differently for convenience, to help easily identify and categorize the end product (e.g. blue coloured PAT: additional testing required; red coloured PAT: Fail; Green coloured PAT: ‘Pass’ as well as environmental impact, etc.).
To ensure the essential safety for your work place or home, it is therefore important to PAT test your electrical appliances by using the right electrical pat testing equipment, the right way.