What is PAT Testing and Why Do I Need it?

Tags: PAT Testing,
Date: Tue 25 May 2021

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is the examination of electrical appliances to ensure they are fit for purpose and do not pose a safety risk.

The process of Portable Appliance Testing involves two stages: visual and physical examination. Visual inspection is of high importance when deciding if the equipment is suitable for use as some electrical faults cannot be detected by testing alone.

Do I need to complete a PAT test?

While Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is not compulsory, it is a legal requirement for employers to keep electrical appliances and equipment in order to maintain a safe working environment for employees. Therefore, it is at the employer's discretion to decide the level of risk a single appliance brings to the workplace and whether it should undergo Portable Appliance Testing (PAT). If a piece of equipment is used on a regular basis, such as a kettle, it would be sensible to test the item on a regular basis to give employee's confidence in the safety of their working environment, and to avoid potential risk of danger caused by electrical faults.

How frequently do I need to test my electrical appliances?

The interval at which a Portable Appliance Test is required depends on the type of equipment used and the environment it is operated in, however this does not negate the need for the user to conduct a brief check of the appliance before each use. For guidance on the frequency of testing for your electrical appliance, download a free guide from Health and Safety Executive.

What needs to be PAT tested?

As previously mentioned, it is not a legal requirement for any single piece of equipment to be tested, however determining whether this is an appropriate measure to take is simple. Portable appliances include all electrical equipment that do not form part of a fixed installation but are connected via a wired plug connects into a wall socket or generator. See below examples of appliances commonly found in the workplace that should undergo Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) if used on a regular basis:

  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator
  • Photocopier
  • Electric Drill
  • Vending Machine
  • Printer

There are likely to be more stationary items found in the workplace that should also undergo Portable Appliance Testing (PAT), such as dishwashers and ceiling lights.

Another method of determining whether an appliance should be tested is the 'class' it falls into:

Class 1 – Low level of insulation and relies on an earth for protection – PAT test is highly recommended.

Class 2 – Medium-high level of insulation so does not rely on an earth therefore lower risk to safety but still requires a PAT insulation test.

Class 3 – Low voltage items, often cordless. Charging leads for these items may need to be PAT tested.

How do I get a Portable Appliance Test (PAT)?

A competent and qualified professional should carry out any required Portable Appliance Testing (PAT). This not only means an individual with the correct equipment for the testing, but also someone who can understand the results of the test and provide necessary remedial work. At Intersafe, our team of electricians are thoroughly trained to minimise downtime and provide a high-quality service. We use the latest equipment available for testing, and all data is automatically downloaded onto our advanced database software, ensuring maximum efficiency and accuracy of results.

Following completion of the test, you will receive an inventory list of appliances tested with full set of results, a list of any failed items and a reasoning for their failure, and a pass or fail label containing the inspection date, next text due and the inspector's signature.

If you are an employer looking to find out more about Portable Appliance Testing (PAT), speak to one of our specialist team members today for advice on what appliances you should get tested.