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Health and Safety Update: PAT Testing

Portable appliance testing (PAT) is the term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances (including medical) and equipment to ensure they are safe to use.  Most electrical safety defects can be found by visual examination but some types of defect can only be found by testing.  However, it is essential to understand that visual examination is an essential part of the process because some types of electrical safety defect can’t be detected by testing alone.

What is falls under PAT and why? Anything with a plug falls under PAT, this is because the item can be moved around and whilst being looked after in one place might not be looked after in another place and could therefore be a hazard not only to the environment but to the person who is using it. For example, a fan, the fan could have fallen a few times and the cable or motor could be damaged.

What can you do to check its safe to use?

  • By looking at the items before you use it and carrying out a visual check.
  • Is the cable in good order?
  • Is the casing around the plug and electrics in good order?
  • Are they any signs of damage or scorching?
  • Does the equipment look damaged in anyway?
  • Can you smell burning or is there a fishy smell when you use it?

Why do I need to have my appliances tested?

The best way of ensuring that your appliances are safe is to have a PAT test carried out on them.  This is a good way for CHP to ensure that we are meeting our legal obligations to maintain high standards of electrical safety in own buildings. 

Do I need to have my items PAT tested?

You should PAT test an electrical appliance if it uses a flexible cable or a plug and socket. It’s important to note the word ‘should’ here. PAT testing itself is not a legal requirement. Technically, you don’t have to PAT test any electrical equipment in the workplace. Please check with your insurance for their recommendations as if you do not and a fire happens, you will be liable for all the works to fix the damage from the fire, not only in your area but all others that have been affected by it, you will not be covered by your insurance so you would not be able to put a claim in and the cost could be quite substantial.

Who can test your PAT equipment?

To establish the safety and suitability of your electrical appliances, a competent person will carry out a visual inspection of the appliance, its plug and lead. For Class I[1] equipment they will also inject test signals into the cable and appliance to ensure their integrity.

What is a PAT Regime?

This sets out the frequency of when your insurance company have advised when to test your equipment.

PAT may be IT equipment 1-3 years, all other items to be every year due to them being small items that can be easily moved around to other sites and areas.

Please check with your insurance for their recommendations as if you do not and a fire happens, you will be liable for all the works to fix the damage from the fire, not only in your area but all others that have been affected by it, you will not be covered by your insurance so you would not be able to put a claim in and the cost could be quite substantial.

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