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Who Can Do PAT Testing? Legalities of Portable Appliance Testing

August 18th, 2022

Last updated: June 9th, 2023

If you have worked in an office or commercial building before there is every chance that you have seen PAT testing stickers on equipment. Who can perform PAT testing? What is this type of test and why is it so important?

A PAT test is a process that involves testing and checking electrical equipment. The visual and electrical checks are designed to test whether there is any wear and tear on the appliance or even things that could be hazardous around the workplace.

Checks include earth continuity, lead polarity, and insulation resistance. There are even different kinds of PAT tests and a reduced “insulation test” is sufficient for some kinds of appliance. If you have fixed appliances, you can use a fixed appliance test for a similar test of quality and safety.

Without being tested, equipment could be posing a very covert hazard in the workplace and just waiting to cause an issue.

Who Can Perform PAT Testing?

The HSE guidelines state that PAT tests should be carried out by a competent person. This could mean an electrician, somebody who has completed a PAT testing training course, or both. The actual term, “competent” is pretty vague, isn’t it? This is difficult to put an exact definition on, but remember, if anything should happen in the workplace then it could be your responsibility. You need to make sure that you have provided a safe environment at all times.

PAT testing is actually not compulsory. There are no government mandates to say that you have to get your equipment tested in this way, and you won’t be fined if you don’t. However, there are reasons why it is such a popular process.

The HSE guidelines state that an employer has a responsibility to “ensure that their electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger.”

This means that maintenance is essential, but that the approach should be based on the risk of the individual appliance, and that it is a good idea to keep some sort of record of the checks that are being carried out. A huge number of businesses decide that PAT testing is a good way to do this, and we would tend to agree. It tends to be affordable, and means that you have peace of mind, knowing that appliances are regularly checked.

PAT testing engineers are usually happy to show you their accreditation and you can ensure that you meet the need to have somebody competent checking on your electrical items.

Can I PAT Test Appliances Myself?

Considering the fact that PAT testing is not a legal requirement, you might assume that you can carry out PAT tests yourself. Is this the case?

Well, that really depends on the definition of a “competent person”. This is what the official guidelines state when it comes to who can legally do PAT testing. Competency is very hard to define, but if you do want to perform these tests yourself, we would recommend completing a course, with certification, that gives you proof that you know how to test appliances. This can give you some level of cover if something should go wrong.

If you really want to be able to carry out PAT testing yourself, then you should go through the necessary training. If not, working with a company such as Robinsons Facilities Services, you can include PAT testing as a part of your planned preventative maintenance schedule, safe in the knowledge that your electrical items are scheduled for regular tests.

You certainly shouldn’t neglect your appliances. Though it is not legally required to get a PAT test, it is essential that you maintain electronics, and this form of testing has become the mainstream method of doing so.

Do New Items Need PAT Tests?

If you buy an item brand new, it should be shipped to you in a condition that is suitable for use straight away with no need for tests. That said, you should always perform a visual check to ensure it isn’t damaged. It is possible that wires have become frayed or the appliance has become water damaged, which could therefore make it unsuitable for use.

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. Our engineers pride themselves on being fast and efficient, and in a commercial setting this can be extremely useful and allow you to get on with your business as usual.

At Robinsons Facilities Services, we cover the Yorkshire area offering PAT testing services. Contact us if you live in:

Complete the quick contact form or call 01423 226578 today.

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