How Often Should Pat Testing Be Done – Businesses are generally aware that they have a legal obligation to carry out Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) on their equipment but often fail to recognize what mobile appliances are and critically, how often they should be tested.
Electrical safety can be viewed in the same way as any other type of building maintenance and it is the company’s responsibility to ensure that it is carried out regularly and thoroughly. As a guide, a portable appliance can be classified as any hand-held or portable appliance while connected to an electrical supply, via a lead and plug. This includes everything from toasters to photocopiers, hair dryers to vacuum cleaners.
How Often Should Pat Testing Be Done
Adrian Pendle, managing director of specialist electrical testing company, said: “Because there are no absolute rules on the frequency of testing and inspection of mobile equipment, it can be confusing for companies. The guidelines simply state that: ‘Regular inspection of equipment is an essential part of any preventive maintenance programme.’ Although this may seem vague, this is because some equipment represents more risk than others – as does the environment in which it is used. A simple example is comparing a drill that is frequently used on a construction site, with a PC in the office. We usually recommend a PAT test every one to four years.
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When assessing how often PAT testing should be performed, companies should take into account the following actors:
If in doubt, contact an expert. The best way for a company to ensure that it meets its electrical safety obligations is to contact an electrical safety specialist such as doing the job properly. Engineers will not only conduct PAT tests for your company but also Periodic Inspection Tests.
Professional electrical compliance specialist, providing Fixed Wire Testing and restoration, PAT Testing, Thermal Imaging, Emergency Lighting Testing and LED Lighting Installation Services. PAT testing is a very important part of electrical goods maintenance. Even appliances such as kettles can pose a significant health and safety risk if they are not working, and failure to carry out a proper assessment can put you and those around you at risk.
Although there is no official law outlining how often you should test PAT equipment, there are many trusted guides that can be very helpful if you are a qualified PAT tester or responsible for maintaining electrical equipment. This article covers all the information you need about what to PAT test and the recommended frequency of PAT testing, as well as outlining what this security check involves.
Pat Testing: What Is It, What’s The Law, And How Often Is It Needed?
‘PAT’ stands for portable electronic equipment. The PAT test assesses whether one of these appliances is safe to use and ensures that any faulty devices are quickly identified and repaired or disposed of before they can cause any harm.
PAT testing is a very important part of electrical health and safety because it reduces the possibility of accidents caused by electrical equipment malfunctions, such as burns or electric shocks. It also protects the wider electrical system by reducing the chance of an appliance tripping over or shorting a series of electrical circuits and potentially damaging other items as well.
Regular PAT testing is required for any electrical equipment that is not part of a permanent installation. If a device or appliance needs to be connected to a fixed installation or generator in order to function, it may be eligible for PAT testing.
There is currently no legal guidance on how often PAT tests should be carried out. In fact, the only legislation that affects the PAT test is The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989), which only says that electrical equipment needs to be maintained and kept safe for use, of which the PAT test can be a part.
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However, you should not ignore the PAT test of electrical equipment, especially if it is known to be dangerous or could cause serious harm to someone if it does not work. There are unofficial guidelines on how often different types of electrical goods should be tested, which we’ll outline below.
First of all, it is important to understand the different types of electrical equipment and their classification, as this can affect how often they need to be tested. There are three different classifications of equipment in the PAT test requirements, namely:
As well as appliance class, several other factors should be considered when determining how often you should test PAT appliances. Think about:
Office equipment such as desktop computers and fax machines are some of the most low-risk mobile devices, meaning they do not need to be PAT tested as often. The recommendation is to complete a formal visual inspection every 2-4 years, and a formal PAT test every 5 years if the appliance is not double insulated.
Why Should A Business Or Residence Pat Test?
Class I appliances are grounded, which refers to how the conductors are connected. Kettles are one of the most common examples of Class I appliances, which are advised to be tested every 1-2 years and have a formal visual inspection every year.
Cables and/or plugs connected to Class I equipment also need to be PAT tested, although not as frequently. The frequency depends on the type of appliance it is installed on, but in general, PAT testing is recommended every 1-4 years.
Class II appliances that are rarely moved, such as fans or table lamps, are recommended to be PAT tested every 2–4 years. This type of double-insulated equipment usually does not require formal combined inspection and testing, only formal visual inspection.
Class II appliances that are hand-held and move a lot, such as kitchen appliances such as blenders or electric beaters, are recommended to have a formal visual inspection every 6 months to a year, depending on how often they are used.
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110V construction equipment is recommended to have a user inspection carried out weekly as part of a general safety assessment, a formal visual inspection every month and a formal PAT test and inspection every 3 months.
230V construction equipment is recommended that user checks are carried out daily or every shift as part of a general safety assessment, a formal visual inspection every week and a formal PAT test and inspection every month.
Heavy industrial equipment not used in construction has slightly different guidelines. They are recommended to have a daily user inspection, a weekly official visual inspection and an official PAT test and inspection every 6-12 months depending on how often they are used.
Light industrial appliances require less frequent inspection, although a basic user inspection before use is still advised. A formal visual inspection is recommended every 6 months and a formal PAT test and examination is recommended every 6-12 months.
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There is no official measurement of PAT test time. Instead, the PAT test lasts until the appliance becomes unsafe to use, in which case another PAT test is required to see if the problem can be fixed or if the appliance needs to be replaced. Sometimes risk assessments may include guidance on how often devices should be tested, particularly in schools or workplaces where general health and safety is the employer’s responsibility.
You should follow guidelines on how often to run PAT tests for all equipment, as this will ensure you retest the safety of items before they may become damaged or unsafe.
There are three different levels of PAT testing; user review, formal visual inspection and combined inspection and testing. While almost anyone can perform an adequate user check on a mobile appliance, the other two levels require a deeper understanding of the system and electrical faults, which is why it’s important to get the right PAT tester to complete this safety assessment.
User inspection involves checking the wires, plugs and external casing of electrical appliances before you use them. This ensures that there is no obvious damage in the device, such as tears or splits in the wiring, cracks in the casing or signs of burning.
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Although you will mostly have to rely on common sense when performing user reviews, it is beneficial to understand common faults to look out for, such as obvious damage to the plug or wiring, overheating or a delay in function when the appliance is switched on.
A formal visual inspection is the next requirement of the PAT test, which requires some formal training to complete correctly. It involves a thorough inspection of the exterior of the appliance as well as taking apart the device and inspecting its inner workings for any signs of damage or malfunction.
The PAT tester is required to read the appliance manual during this test stage to compare the official internal diagram with the actual appearance of the internal wiring, to detect any obvious damage. This may include a terminal connected to the wrong wire, a loose screw or a fuse in the wrong place.
The final stage of the PAT test requires a PAT
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