PAT Testing Classes Explained
July 6th, 2023
Last updated: August 3rd, 2023
PAT testing, short for Portable Appliance Testing, is an important procedure that ensures the safety of electrical appliances used in various settings. PAT testing involves assessing the electrical safety of appliances through a series of inspections and tests.
It can be a bit confusing if you are the business owner or operator of a commercial premises. You need to work out what your responsibilities are when it comes to electrical items. The legalities of PAT testing don’t make things too much simpler. While it is strongly advised that you get your items tested, there is no specific legal framework for it. However, PAT testing helps people prove they have met their obligations.
PAT Testing Classes
There are three different classes of PAT testing, each associated with specific types of appliances based on their design and construction. Let’s explore each class and the appliances that fall into them:
- Class I Appliances: Class I appliances have a single level of protection against electric shock. They rely on a combination of basic insulation and an earth connection to ensure safety. These appliances typically have a metal casing and require a three-core cable with a plug that includes an earth pin. Examples of Class I appliances include:
- Desktop computers and monitors
- Kettles and toasters
- Washing machines and refrigerators
- Power tools and industrial machinery
- Vending machines
- Class II Appliances: Class II appliances are designed with double insulation or reinforced insulation, eliminating the need for an earth connection. Class II appliances are identified by the “double square” symbol on their rating plate or plug. Examples of Class II appliances can include:
- Laptops and computers
- Televisions and gaming consoles
- Mobile phone chargers
- Desk fans and heaters
- Class III Appliances: Class III appliances are categorised as extra-low voltage devices and operate at a voltage below 50V. These appliances rely on a separate external power supply, usually a transformer, to step down the voltage to a safe level. They offer the highest level of electrical safety and are commonly referred to as “SELV” (Separated Extra-Low Voltage) or “PELV” (Protected Extra-Low Voltage). Examples of Class III appliances include:
- Low-voltage lighting systems
- Some types of medical equipment
- Touch-sensitive control panels
- Some data communication equipment
It’s worth noting that PAT testing procedures may vary depending on each individual item.
You may also need tests in line with specific risk assessments such as your fire risk assessment, which may identify other issues and hazards, such as electrical fires. However, the general concept of categorising appliances into different classes remains consistent across most testing practices to ensure the safety of electrical equipment in various environments.
What Do The Classes Actually Mean?
The class of an appliance helps to work out the level of testing needed. Of course, it is possible to get all of the items tested but there is a cost involved, and it makes sense to prioritise items that pose more of a risk. Class 1 appliances will need a full PAT test, Class 2 appliances usually only need a PAT insulation test. Class 3 items don’t usually need a PAT test.
As an aside, the items that we have used as examples can vary in their class. For instance, a lawn mower may be a Class 1 item but another may be Class 2. The plugs and manuals provide the information you need.
If you would like more information on PAT testing or our other electrical services for your Yorkshire-based business, feel free to contact us today.
At Robinsons Facilities Services, we cover the Yorkshire area offering PAT testing services. Contact us if you live in: