A Guide To PAT Testing

In today’s world, electrical items are common across a range of different businesses. From plug sockets and phone systems to printers and computers, there are thousands of ways that a business may utilise electrical appliances and equipment. 

As a business owner, it is crucial to make sure that you are meeting the correct safety standards in your office, to protect your staff and the people around you. After a few years of owning electrical appliances, you may find that some start to break down, become faulty or just generally become a hazard. 

In order to make sure this isn’t the case, PAT testing, (portable appliance testing) can be carried out by a professional. But, what exactly is PAT testing? How does it work and how often do you need to do it? Keep reading this blog and we will reveal all the answers below! 

What is a PAT test?

PAT testing is the process of examining electrical appliances and equipment, in order to reduce hazards and increase safety. Regular use of electrical appliances can lead to damage - this is why it’s so important to get PAT testing done by professionals. 

A typical PAT test will be a visual inspection, followed by a more rigorous, in-depth inspection with PAT testing equipment. 

At the end of every PAT test, appliances that have been inspected will be marked as ‘passed’ or ‘failed’. The results will then be recorded and communicated to the relevant people.  

What does PAT testing stand for?

In case you were unaware, PAT stands for Portable Appliance Testing.

The main goal of the PAT test is to prevent workplace accidents from electrical equipment. With plugs, for example, cables can often become loose or wires can fray. This can have severe consequences if someone was to receive an electric shock through handling the equipment. 

Whilst electric shocks and burns can cause damage to individuals, electrical fires can devastate entire buildings. It’s safe to say that you need to be fully aware of PAT testing if you own or manage a business, and luckily, we’re here to explain it to you. 

There are actually 7 categories of appliance which should be considered for PAT testing or, at least, visual inspections:

  • Fixed appliances
  • Stationary appliances
  • IT appliances
  • Moveable appliances
  • Portable appliances
  • Cables and chargers
  • Hand-Held appliances

PAT testing is one of the most effective ways to keep your electrical appliances in order, so it makes complete sense to meet the legal obligation through this testing process. 

You may be thinking ‘does it really matter if I don’t have my appliances pat tested?’. Well, we are here to tell you, yes it definitely does matter! If you choose not to meet your legal obligations, in regards to the safety of your electrical appliances, you could face a sentence of 2 years imprisonment. 

As well as this, you could also end up with an unlimited financial penalty. Of course, this all depends on the severity of the situation but hopefully, this makes you realise that you should view pat testing as a must for your business. 

Ultimately, it comes down to the employer to maintain the businesses electrical appliances, although in larger organisations someone may be assigned to this role.   

Why is a PAT test important?

According to figures from 2017/2018, in the UK, three people lost their lives to electrical accidents and 315 suffered serious injuries.

While PAT testing may not be a legal requirement, in itself, businesses are required to maintain electrical equipment in a safe condition. Not only this but they also have a legal responsibility to keep their employees and the public safe. 

PAT testing is one of the most effective ways to keep your electrical appliances in order, so it makes complete sense to meet the legal obligation through this testing process. 

You may be thinking ‘does it really matter if I don’t have my appliances PAT tested?’. Well, we are here to tell you, yes it definitely does matter! If you choose not to meet your legal obligations, in regards to the safety of your electrical appliances, you could face a sentence of 2 years imprisonment. 

As well as this, you could also end up with an unlimited financial penalty. Of course, this all depends on the severity of the situation but hopefully, this makes you realise that you should view PAT testing as a must for your business. 

Ultimately, it comes down to the employer to maintain the businesses electrical appliances, although in larger organisations someone may be assigned to this role.

What does PAT Testing involve?

table for parr group

When it comes to PAT testing there are a few key areas that you need to be aware of. A professional PAT tester will usually test 7 different categories of appliances, as mentioned above. These appliances can be broken down into:

Fixed appliances

Fixed Appliances are appliances that are fixed in a permanent location or are fastened to a support. Generally, these types of appliances are low risk and only need a visual inspection as opposed to a full past test.

Stationary appliances

Stationary Appliances are appliances such as fridges and washing machines that are fixed in their position. These types of appliances are also low risk and visual inspection is only needed in high-risk environments. A PAT test would be needed for stationary equipment, this is apart from class 2 equipment in low-risk environments. 

IT appliances

IT Appliances are appliances used for business equipment such as monitors, PCs, laptops, printers etc. These types of appliances are low risk and visual inspection is only needed in high-risk environments. A PAT test would be needed for IT Appliances, this is apart from class 2 equipment in low-risk environments.

Moveable appliances

Moveable Appliances are appliances that are under 18kg, sit in one place but can be moved around. These types of appliances are low to medium risk and visual inspection is 100% required. A PAT test would be needed for moveable appliances, this is apart from class 2 equipment in low-risk environments.

Portable appliances

Portable Appliances are electrical appliances that are meant to be moved whilst connected to an energy supply. These types of appliances are medium risk and visual inspection is 100% required. A PAT test would be needed for portable appliances, this is apart from class 2 equipment in low-risk environments.

Cables & Chargers

Cables & Chargers e.g. extension cables, IEC Leads and cable reels are normally medium risk. These types of appliances require a visual inspection and a PAT test, apart from class 2 equipment in low-risk environments.

Handheld appliances

Handheld appliances, such as hairdryers, hair straighteners and electric drills, are viewed as a high risk. A visual inspection will need to be conducted frequently along with a PAT test, apart from class 2 equipment in low-risk environments.

Summary

We hope you’ve found this article useful and now have a better idea about what PAT testing is, why it’s important and what it’s used for. 

PAT testing shouldn’t be taken lightly and needs to be conducted to some level of frequency within your business. 

If you are looking to get PAT testing done or would like more information from a professional, please get contact us today! 

Fire Protection Team

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Comment: