What is PAT testing?
PAT testing (or portable appliance testing) is the process of checking whether or not electrical appliances are safe to use. An important part of this process is simple visual checks to ensure that the electrical cable, inside the plug or appliance itself do not display signs of damage or defectiveness. However, it may be necessary to employ the services of a qualified person to carry out a more formal check. The required frequency of these checks will depend on where, how and how often the appliance in question is being used.
PAT testing is relevant to appliances that can be moved, however, the testing will likely be carried out in situ. This means all appliances such as lamps, fans, kettles, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, fridges, vending machines, hairdryers, irons, thermal blankets, photocopiers, desktop computers, phone chargers and power tools, for example.
Is PAT testing a legal requirement?
There is no specific law that states that employers, owners or landlords are required to carry out PAT testing on equipment used by their employees, tenants or members of the public. However, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state that all electrical appliances should be maintained in such a way that they continue to be suitable to use for the job they are being supplied to carry out and to prevent any possible danger to their users.
While this regulation does not specifically state what exactly needs to be done, how often or whose responsibility it is, in practice, this means that the duty is placed on owners to ensure that electrical appliances are safe to use. PAT testing is the best way to do this.
Fines as a result of contravening the Electricity at work Regulations 1989 can be very high, so it is better not to take the risk and make sure that your portable devices are maintained in a safe condition.
What are the benefits of PAT testing?
The biggest and most obvious benefit of PAT testing is peace of mind. Knowing that you have done what you can to ensure that your electrical appliances are being maintained in good working order and are not at risk of harming anyone using them is very reassuring.
Of course this extends to fact that having certification of official PAT testing for your electrical appliances will go a long way to protect you legally in any unfortunate cases of injury as an unforeseen result of using an electrical appliance.
Regular PAT testing can also spot early signs of wear and tear in electrical appliances, allowing you to replace or mend them in good time meaning you are not eventually left without a vital functioning piece of equipment while waiting for its replacement. This, in the long term, will save you both time and money.
How is PAT testing carried out?
The are three basic things to consider when deciding how we carry PAT testing in Bristol:
- Are there any obvious visual signs of damage to the appliance?
- How frequently and intensively is the appliance being used?
- Can you carry out the inspections yourself?
The vast majority of signs of damage and defects to electrical appliances can be spotted by simple visual inspection, therefor this is the most common and useful method to maintain portal electrical appliances, and should always be the first form of PAT testing to be carried out. This does not require any special training.
As a general rule of thumb, smaller household appliances such as kettles, microwaves, toasters, lamps and fans will need to undergo visual inspection every two years, while larger appliances like fridges, ovens, dishwashers and washing machines will require a check every four years.
However, to determine more accurately how often these visual inspections will need to be carried out going forward given the specific conditions they find themselves in, consider frequency and intensity of use that the appliance undergoes.
For example, a vacuum cleaner in an office that is used every other day will require more frequent checking than a wifi router that is never moved simply because the vacuum cleaner stands more chance of being damaged by frequent use and movement. In this case, it would be a good idea to inspect the vacuum cleaner for signs of damage every six months.
If you are unsure about how often your specific appliances need testing or you do not feel confident about carrying out the checks yourself, employing a qualified professional to do it for you is a good idea.
Why use Watertite Plumbing and Heating?
We’re highly skilled heating engineers and plumbers in Bristol, this means we have all the necessary skills and qualifications such as being Gas Safe registered and Electrical Competent Person qualified. We pride ourselves on providing you with punctual, efficient and friendly service. Our fully qualified engineers use the latest technology and go out of their way to cause the least amount of disruption possible while carrying out their work. Customer satisfaction is a high priority for us and we work hard to retain our reputation for excellence.
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