PAT Testing and how it can Affect your Business

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) legislation was put into effect to ensure that all companies conform to the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989, Provision and Use of Work Equipment regulations of 1998 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations of 1999.

This is done through thorough testing of appliances to safeguard against damage and to make certain that these items are safe and perform properly. There is often confusion about PAT testing and how it can affect your business, so here is everything you need to know.

What is PAT testing?

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is an important part of a company’s or individual’s responsibility to health and safety. This is done using a series of specialised testing procedures on your portable appliances.

What is classed as a portable appliance?

A portable appliance is any equipment which is powered between 40 and 240 volts and which is connected to the electrical mains through a 13 amp plug.

What does a test include?

During a PAT test we look for the following:

  • Damaged flexes
  • Damaged plugs and equipment (overheating, burn marks, discolouration)
  • Correctly wired plugs
  • Correctly rated fuse

Do I have to get my equipment PAT tested?

There is currently no strict legal requirement for PAT testing. The Government however has put regulations into place that pertain to the maintenance of electrical appliances and the most effective way to ensure that these regulations are met is through PAT testing. With a regular maintenance schedule in place PAT Testing ensures that all equipment is safe and fit for use.

How often do my appliances have to be PAT tested?

This depends on your company’s risk assessment and maintenance schedule. If your company does not have these documents for PAT testing this is something we might be able to help you with.

Who can carry out a PAT test?

An actual PAT test should be performed only by someone who is deemed competent. According to PAT testing legislation, a competent person is someone who has experience or knowledge of being able to check and test appliances for safety purposes. Those with knowledge of electricity in general as well as anyone who has experience in electrical work can be deemed capable.

What could happen to me or my business if I don’t?

Even though Pat testing is not a legal requirement, failure to comply with Electrical Regulations can, at its extreme, lead to imprisonment. There is a maximum penalty of a £5,000 fine and/or up to six months imprisonment for breaches under the general duties of the Health Safety at Work Act 1974. In 1992 penalties of up to £20,000 were introduced and offences heard on indictment in the Crown Court now attract unlimited financial penalties and up to two years imprisonment

Why should I use Maintrade to carry out my PAT testing?

We are a specialist company dealing exclusively in Portable Appliance Testing and all out testing is carried out in accordance with The Institute of Electrical Engineers’ (IEE) code of practice. Maintrade is one of only a handful of PAT testing Companies to achieve NICEIC accreditation and all of our engineers are City & Guilds qualified.