Are You Doing Your PAT Testing In-House and What Are the Legal Requirements?

Tags: PAT Testing,
Date: Mon 06 Jun 2016

PAT Testing is not an obligation but the law requires businesses to maintain appliances to ensure safety.

PAT Testing (or Portable Appliance Testing) is not an obligation. The law however requires businesses to maintain appliances to ensure safety of all in the workplace. These tests should be carried out by a 'competent person' who can perform the checks safely. It may have been decided in your organisation that you are now carrying out PAT Testing in house, this may enable you to utilise internal resources and cut costs.

Considerations for Facilities Managers Regarding PAT

If you are carrying out PAT testing in house there are some practical considerations to ensure that you carry out electrical maintenance correctly and efficiently. Although the law does not require you to label equipment that has been tested, nor to keep records, it is good practice and will help you manage your equipment servicing needs. If an appliance does cause harm to someone in the workplace, it will be invaluable evidence that all necessary checks were performed.

It is a good idea to draw up a list of the appliances covered by the legislation. Estimate how often appliances are used and refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for regular maintenance and servicing. This will aid you in determining how often appliances should be serviced and when PAT should be conducted.

Who is a 'competent person?'

The law states that that anyone conducting PAT Testing must be trained in Portable Appliance Testing - this is covered in the law as a 'competent person.' The IET state the following when it comes to defining a 'Competent Person':

"A person who possesses sufficient technical knowledge, relevant practical skills and experience for the nature of the electrical work undertaken and is able at all times to prevent danger and, where appropriate, injury to him/herself and others."

What tests could a Portable Appliance need?

Your organisation have decided that you are carrying out PAT testing in house, you have a 'competent person' in your workforce, you now need to understand the test performed on a portable appliance. Here are the tests required:

  • Earth Continuity Test - The most common test, performed using a specific PAT tester machine (or ohmmeter)
  • Earth Resistance Test - Determining the resistance provided by earthing rods, which should be less than 1Ω ;
  • Insulation Resistance Test - Ensuring insulation of the electrical appliance prevents the leakage of electrical current ;
  • Polarity Check - Ensuring plugs and cord extension sockets are wired correctly
  • Safety Switch Tests - This requires specialist testing equipment and ensures that the tripping mechanism for an appliance works as it should.

If after weighing up the options you have decided to outsource your Electrical Testing maintenance, Intersafe are specialists in Periodic Inspection and Testing, PAT Testing and Thermal Imaging. Contact Stephanie by calling 02380 610101 or email stephanie@intersafe.co.uk to book an appointment.