Frequently Asked Questions

What is Portable Appliance Testing?

The "Inspection and Testing of In-service Electrical Equipment" (usually referred to as Portable Appliance Testing or PAT), was introduced to enable companies and organisations to comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations. To meet these regulations it is necessary to have in place a program of inspection and electrical safety testing of all appliances.

Other legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance - The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Workplace (Health, Safetyand Welfare) Regulations 1992, and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Do I need my electrical appliances tested?

To comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations all electrical appliances should be routinely inspected and tested by a competent person.

The regulations apply equally to small companies and the self employed as to larger organisations.

What electrical equipment needs to be tested?

The regulations cover all items of in-service electrical equipment, this includes all movable and stationery items connected to the mains supply by 13A BS1363 plugs, BS EN60309-2 industrial plugs or hard wired via a fused connection unit and flex.

In addition to being responsible for the safety of their own appliances, companies are also responsible for the safety of electrical equipment brought on site by employees or contractors.

What do the tests entail?

The testing consists of two separate activities; a visual inspection to check for damage and poor electrical standards and a series of tests to assess the electrical integrity of the appliance under test which will check for less obvious electrical faults.

How often does it need testing?

The requirements are based on principles  of risk assessment and reasonable practicability. The  frequency of inspection and testing required will vary depending on the type of appliance, its location, and its use.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) publish advice and guidelines.

The Suggested Frequency of Inspection and Testing as set out by the IET Code of Practice for of In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment meets the requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

LinPAT can help you develope an inspection and testing schedule.

Created by Rob Dummer