A Guide to PAT Testing

UK Plug

At Blair Installations we offer a wide range of services for domestic and commercial clients from Portslade, throughout the South East and across the UK and abroad. Our talented and versatile team can provide a range of electrical services that can include emergency lighting and fire alarm installation amongst other services that are essential for the running of any business or organisation, but we also offer a wide range of services that aren’t always immediately obvious. One of these services is PAT testing, a service that many organisations take seriously and have made a mandatory requirement, and while PAT testing isn’t essential for every business in the UK, it’s definitely worth considering as it can be very beneficial to you. In this article we’ll look at what PAT testing entails, and why you should consider it.

What is PAT Testing?

PAT Ammeter
PAT stands for Portable Appliance Testing, and is one of those unfortunate abbreviations that has the meaning for its last letter stapled onto the end, so before you rush to point out that we’re calling it portable appliance testing testing, don’t worry, this is just one of those oddities of the English language that has developed into something which we just accept in day to day life. While not all appliances need to be portable in the sense that we think of say a mobile phone, they invariable are required to be able to be plugged into a wall socket and be able to be moved to be eligible for PAT testing. Usually PAT testing is based on a formal visual examination to ascertain that the item in question is safe for use and that things such as exposed wiring and other such dangers that can occur in electrical goods through use aren’t present. Specialist equipment can also be used to ensure that the correct voltage and resistance is in place. Effectively the goal is to ensure that an item is safe for use and won’t cause harm to those using it for the as intended purpose.

What Equipment Should be PAT Tested?

Desktop PC Testing
While the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 requires that every piece of electrical equipment at a place of work in the UK should be safe to use and not cause harm or injury through negligence, there aren’t any specific rules on what should be tested. As a rule of thumb it is advisable to treat your electrical equipment as you would any other asset to your business and ensure that it is in working order and won’t cause a disruption to the daily operations of your business. Essentially an element of common sense is required here, but planning ahead and getting your electrical equipment regularly PAT tested is prudent. Generally PAT testing is only carried out on older appliances, however new items should still be given a basic visual inspection to ensure that nothing is noticeably wrong with the item.

How Often Should I Perform a PAT Test?

PAT Testing Schedule
As there is no set rules on timing this is quite dependent on the type of business you are, the equipment that you use and how frequently you use it. An important factor to consider is what kind of stress your electrical equipment will be under and what the potential damage of not maintaining regular testing will have. For instance if you use power tools in a building environment then it’s likely that your electrical equipment will be under frequent stress that is beyond what, for example, a PC in an office would experience. In such instances it makes sense to test this equipment far more frequently as despite its sturdier build, it’s far more likely to be put under physical stress in which issues may arise, and due to the way in which it is used is far more likely to cause harm to the operator in the event of a malfunction compared to a PC. We recommend contacting a qualified electrician such as the ones that we have at Blair Installations to gain advice from a qualified professional on how often your should carry out PAT testing on your electrical appliances, but don’t hesitate to set your own schedule. We can advise you of the best course of action, but the final decision is up to you, but you might want to consider a visual inspection once every 6 months followed by a more thorough inspection once every 2 years.

It’s important to remember that not all electrical equipment needs to be tested at the same time, for instance in an office environment the following schedule might be appropriate:

  • Vacuum Cleaner – visual check once every 6 months – full test every 2 years
  • Kettle – visual check once every 6 months – full test every 2 years
  • PC – visual check once a year – full test every 3 years
  • Laptop – visual check once every 6 months – full test once a year
  • Microwave – visual check once 3 months – full test once a year

This is just an example and might not be appropriate for your particular circumstances, but it highlights how different testing of equipment at different times could be carried out.

PAT Testing in Brighton

PAT Testing in Brighton
While there’s no strict enforcement for the implementation of PAT testing in Sussex or anywhere else in the UK, it makes sense to ensure the continued smooth running of your business and to ensure the safety of your employees and clients that you implement some sort of testing schedule. While you have the option to do this yourself, if you want to ensure that everything is done professionally and that you have the documentation to back up that a qualified electrician has completed the task; our team of electrical contractors at Blair Installations are on hand to help. We can provide both your testing and advise you on a schedule for future testing that is tailored to you and your business. If you want to find out more about PAT testing or any of the other electrical services that we offer to both domestic and commercial clients, then please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your requirements. You can easily contact us through our online contact form, or alternatively you can either send an email to reception@blairinstallations.co.uk or call us on 01273 426826. Further information on PAT testing can be found on an FAQ on PAT testing at the HSE website.