PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) tests are essential for ensuring the safety of electrical items used within a business or a premises. Although they are not a legal requirement in their own right, health and safety regulations mean that conducting regular PAT tests on electrical equipment is very important, ensuring the safety of yourself, your staff, your tenants and the public.
PAT tests, in these cases, don’t just protect people, they also ensure you are fully compliant with crucial regulations including:
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)
The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989)
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998)
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)
The Importance of Electrical Compliance
For some employers, failing to comply with these acts and regulations can mean big trouble. In rare and extremely serious cases, employers can even face imprisonment, but more commonly businesses can leave themselves open to substantial fines for non-compliance.
And it’s not just employers who need to worry about PAT testing. Self-employed individuals also need to be wary about the safety of their electrical equipment, while landlords equally shoulder a responsibility for ensuring the electrical equipment provided by them in rented premises is functioning correctly and safely. Schools and organisations are also required to ensure the performance of electrical items and the safety of students and the public.
How Often is PAT Testing Required?
Because there is no set legal obligation to PAT test, PAT testing frequency is largely left up to the employers, organisations and landlords in question. As long as safety is being adequately ensured, compliance is usually achieved. If you’re not entirely sure how often your equipment needs to be PAT tested, however, there are some best practice “rules of thumb” to be aware of:
Construction Any 110/240v equipment used on site should undergo a PAT test on a quarterly basis.
Industry On industrial sites, portable and handheld equipment should receive a PAT test twice a year, while “office” electricals like stationery, IT and moveable equipment should be given an annual PAT test.
Public From libraries, to community centres, any IT or stationery equipment should be given a yearly PAT test. Class 1 equipment (like kettles, microwaves, electric heaters, fridges etc.) require testing every six months, while Class 2 equipment (TVs, DVDs, power tools, lamps etc.) should also be checked yearly.
Schools To keep students and teachers safe, an annual test on Class 1 equipment (see above) is recommended, while Class 2 equipment can be checked every four years.
Retail From shops and offices to hotels, experts recommend PAT tests on Class 1 equipment every four years and tests on moveable equipment like extension leads should be conducted every two years. Any handheld electricals should be tested annually.
At AA Electrical we offer professional and comprehensive PAT testing to clients in every sector, from education to construction. Available 24/7 to suit your schedule, we’re here to ensure your equipment is safe and your organisation is compliant with Health and Safety regulations.