Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing)

Portable Appliance Testing is carried out on a routine basis to determine whether the individual item of electrical equipment is in a safe condition for continued use. Health and Safety regulations state that the appliance must be safe for workers to use to prevent harm to themselves and others. There are many variations of electrical appliance that require testing at regular intervals to ensure continued safety, the interval between tests depends on both the appliance and environment in which it is being use. Pat Testing is very important in a companies responsibility to continued health and safety.


What is involved during PAT testing

Prior to any electrical testing being carried out a formal visual inspection must be made. The following is an indication as to what checks are performed.

  • The visual inspection checks the plug, the plug top is removed and the wiring order checked. The wiring terminals are checked for tightness as is the cable grip and fuse size. We also inspect for burn marks and overheating.
  • The cable is inspected for suitability and signs of damage.
  • The appliance is also inspected for damage, signs of burning and cable anchorage in the appliance.

Then a series of electrical tests are carried out. They would typically include

  • Earth Continuity testing of Class 1 product.
  • Insulation Resistance Testing, or Protective Conductor Current / Touch Current Test or Substitute / Alternative Leakage Test.
  • Functional testing would be performed last to ensue that the operation of the equipment is working properly.
  • Polarity testing would be performed on appliance cords.

Avoidance in damaging sensitive equipment eg, I.T. or Comms equipment, the tests selected would be a Soft Test.

  • Earth Continuity test would use a short circuit test current of 200mA.
  • Insulation resistance test would be performed at 250v d.c. followed by the substitute/alternative leakage test.

Do I Need PAT Testing

Do you provide to your employees, tenants, or general public any electrical equipment ?

Should you answer YES to any of the above then you do need Pat Testing to ensure their safety, you should have a regular maintenance schedule in place. PAT testing is an important part of a companies responsibility to health and safety.

Pat Testing Frequency.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state that equipment should be maintained so as to prevent danger. Inspection and testing are means of determining if maintenance is required. The frequency of inspection and testing will depend upon the likely hood of maintenance being required and the consequence of the lack of maintenance. Factors that influence the decision of testing are: the environment, the user, the equipment construction and the equipment type. Influenced by the above, most clients have their appliances tested every 12 months. Some factors will determine a 6 monthly test and some I.T. appliance could be 24 months or possibly longer.

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