All businesses and commercial enterprises are required by law to comply with the Electricity at Work Act 1989, which states that employers must carry out work on electrical systems in a way that prevents danger. Part of abiding to this piece of legislation means that business owners have a duty to protect their employees and customers from electrical shock, accident and fire hazards which is why regular PAT testing is vital.
What is PAT Testing?
PAT stands for ‘Portable Appliance Testing’ and involves the routine inspection of different types of electrical appliance to ensure that they are fit for purpose and safe to use and therefore preventing electrical accidents.
The test itself is comprised of both a visual inspection which involves looking for obvious damage such as loose wiring, broken plugs or charred fuses as well as a more in-depth check using specialist equipment. The PAT testing units check earth continuity, lead polarity and insulation resistance checks – some appliances only require a ‘reduced’ test called a PAT insulation test.
Like with any ‘test’ at the end of the PAT testing every appliance will be given a mark, either a pass or a fail, which is then identifiable by a red sticker for fail or a green sticker for pass. Our electrical contractors will also provide a record of the results.
Which Appliances Need to Be PAT Tested?
In the current legislation there is no conclusive definition of what classifies as a portable appliance but the industry standard interpretation is that any appliance that has a plug attached to it and needs to be plugged in to a wall outlet to work – which makes the term ‘portable appliance’ a bit misleading. There are 7 catergories of appliance that need to be PAT tested regularly and these include:
- Fixed appliances – such as electric hobs, hand dryers & machinery.
- Stationary appliances – units that are not easily moves such as refrigerators or air conditioning units.
- Portable appliances – such as laptops, food mixers, toasters, microwaves.
- Handheld appliances – such as telephones, catering electronics and tools like drills.
- Cables and chargers – be it for tools, IT equipment or phones.
- IT appliances – including printers, laptops and computers.
PAT Testing Classes
Aside from determining the appliances category from above, identifying the electrical class that it falls into can influence whether or not PAT testing needs to be carried out on that specific appliances. Appliances are grades from class 1 – 3 and what falls into these categories is explained below.
Class 1 is a type of appliance that has only basic insulation and relies on the earth for protection. Falling under this category is tumble dryers, refrigerators, photocopiers, industrial machinery and extension leads.
Class 2 has extra insulation and doesn’t rely so much on the earth, making it safer. Some of these include printers, televisions, drills and food mixers.
Class 3 appliances are low voltage and are the safest class, so it may only be their charging leads that require PAT testing; these include laptops, mobile phones, torches and cameras.
One Way Electrical PAT Testing
Our service for PAT testing is carried out with the latest range of test equipment and software used by our trained staff. Each piece of equipment I identified with a bar code reference label for eases of logging an retesting equipment on the next due date.
Our electrical contractors can advise you of the frequency of PAT testing required on all of the different types of equipment and assist in your business’s compliance to current legislation.