Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
The current law requires that all employers maintain portable appliances and ensure their safety. This is done through testing of the appliances to safeguard against damage and to make certain that these items perform properly. 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.
The UK Health and Safety Executive along with insurance companies will expect you to perform PAT testing to ensure that you are compliant with certain regulations including:
- Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
- The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999
Non-compliance can result in fines up to £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment. For more serious breaches can rise to £20,000 and offences heard in the Crown Court have carried sentences of more than 2 years imprisonment in additional to unlimited financial penalties for breaches that put individuals at risk. It is important to note that, even though PAT testing itself is not legally required, it ensures compliance with the above regulations.
Upon completion of the portable appliance inspection and testing, the examiner will provide a report that details the following as a minimum:
- An inventory containing each appliance type, name, location and description
- A full set of test results for each appliance tested
- A full list of any failed items with an explanation of their failure
- A visible pass or fail label on each appliance detailing the inspection date, next test due and the inspector’s signature.
PAT testing provides the most effective way to identify defects that can come with use. Faults in electrical equipment pose a potential hazard, particularly if they are not repaired readily and is essential to maintaining health and safety within an organisation.
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