What is PAT Testing?

So many people ask what PAT testing is and do they need it?  In this blog you’ll learn everything you need to know about the testing.

PAT stands for ‘Portable Appliance Testing’

Electrical appliances will need a test, which is a routine inspection of the product to ensure they are safe to use.  The main purpose for testing would be to prevent electrical accidents happening in any workplace.

When somebody is taking out a full test they must do two important things, which include: a visual inspection and a more in-depth check using more specialist PAT testing equipment.  The test will consist of lead polarity, earth continuity and insulation resistance checks.  Only a few appliances will only need a small test which is referred to a PAT insulation test.

The test can be just like an exam, you either pass or fail and every result should be recorded.

What does it stand for?

Currently there is no actual definition of what a ‘Portable Appliance’ is however, many people associate the test with any appliance that has a plug attached to it and plugs into a wall.  Please see below the 7 categories that should be considered for the testing:

  • Fixed appliances
  • Stationary appliances
  • IT appliances
  • Moveabe appliances
  • Portable appliances
  • Cables and charges
  • Hand held appliances

Do you need to PAT test by law?

The answer is no.  You do not have to test appliances as a legal requirement.  Although, UK legislation states that every business must maintain electrical equipment in a safe condition.  Also, by law they have the duty to keep employees and the public safe.  In order to keep people safe, this testing is the easiest and most effective way to make sure the appliances are safe to use.

The employer of every business has the responsibility for all electrical appliance safety within the company.

Penalties may occur if people do not meet legal obligations on electrical appliance safety.  It all depends on how severe the situation is.  The penalty could reach up to 2 years in prison as well as an unlimited financial penalty.

Who can legally test?

You as a business can test you appliances as long as the person doing it is a ‘competent person’ which means they should have all knowledge on electricity.  Before you are to carry out a test it is advisable to take a PAT testing course to ensure you carry out the test correctly to make sure you are keeping employees safe.

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