PAT Testing in the Workplace

Debbie AnstisPosted 19 May 2017 By Debbie Anstis, Health & Safety Consultant In Academy Schools Business Business Improvement Business Recovery & Insolvency Charity Construction Contractors Corporate Finance Elite Payroll Environmental Forensic Services Health & Safety Human Resources In House Leisure and Tourism Manufacturing Professional Practices Rural and Landed Estates Solicitors Taxation

How often have you had a call demanding to know when you had your last PAT test done? “What’s a PAT test?” you ask, and the very helpful sales person on the phone tells you it’s a Portable Appliance Test (“PAT”) that should be done for all your electrical equipment every year!

At this point, you thank them very nicely and put the phone down!

Preventing potentially fatal electric shocks requires employers to take a wide range of measures that include ensuring works are done by competent people, fitting the right electrical safety devices and regularly checking equipment.

Contrary to what the testing company will tell you, the law does not say how you should check equipment or the frequency, but legally all electrical equipment must be ‘maintained’. To avoid shocks and burns, all equipment should have a checking schedule in place. A drill in the back of a van should be checked far more frequently, than a printer in an office that has not moved for five years!

Using external companies can be cost saving as they often have economies of scale to help them test items. However, provided someone is competent, trained and has experience, this can be done in house with the right equipment.

Like the MOT, the electrical test only tells the employer that the item was safe when tested and equally does not become unsafe just because it was tested 12 months and 2 weeks ago. The most important way to ensure everything is tested is to set a schedule and stick to it. This should be based on the risk of the item. Using the example we had of a drill, which may be damaged in the back of a van, this should be tested every 6-12 months, while a printer in an office can be tested every 2 – 5 years depending on your judgement.

Ensure you label equipment as it makes it easier to see when retesting is required and always keep a log of items.

Happy PAT testing and call us if you need advice on scheduling this.

To discuss this or anything else, please email Debbie Anstis or Peta Fry, or give them a call on 01793 818300.

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