Portable appliance testing (PAT) is a term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to make sure they’re safe to use. Most electrical safety defects are often found by visual examination but some varieties of defect will only be found by testing. However, it’s essential to understand that visual examination is an important part of the process because some forms of electrical safety defect cannot be detected by testing alone.
A relatively short user check (based upon basic training and the assistance of a short checklist) will be a really helpful part of any electrical maintenance regime. You can check yourself for any problems if you have knowledge of plumbing however, visual inspection and testing by a professional may be required at times, because you could easily create further damage to your central heating system. This is when you should contact your plumber to ask for PAT testing services.
Electrical PAT Testing Regulations
The Health & Safety executive states that 25 percent of all reportable electrical accidents involve portable appliances. The Electricity at Work laws place an accountability on employers, staff and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the regulations and take practical steps to make sure that no danger results from the use of such equipment. This in effect needs the implementation of a systematic and regular program of maintenance, inspection and testing. The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) places such an obligation within the following circumstances:
- Wherever appliances are used by staff
- Wherever the general public might use appliances in establishments like hospitals, schools, hotels, shops etc
- Wherever appliances are supplied or hired
- Wherever appliances are repaired or serviced
The level of inspection and testing needed is dependent upon the risk of the appliance becoming faulty, that is in turn dependent upon the kind of appliance, the nature of its use and also the setting in which it’s used.
Finding Qualified PAT Testing Companies
A PAT testing professional will be able to carry out Portable Appliance Testing and checks on a range of appliances using a portable appliance tester. The PAT testing device will show whether or not the appliance has passed and is safe to use. The device checks the appliance on earth continuity, lead polarity, and insulation resistance. There are many other tests that are used for advanced testers. Because it doesn’t take long to determine whether or not the appliance has passed, the process of PAT Testing services is fairly quick and generally showing if the appliance is safe to use doesn’t take long.
The equipment used for portable appliance testing is used to ensure that a portable appliance is safe to use. The equipment used by professionals gives the option of downloading testing information to the device memory.
PAT Testing Prices And Frequency
Knowing how often you need your appliances tested depends on a number of factors. The type of equipment and its purpose of use will determine how often it is checked.
If the equipment is used more often, it should be tested more frequently because it is likely to suffer more damage than an appliance that is not used as often.
If the people using the equipment have seen or reported any damages to the appliance including the cables or any other visible damages, having them tested straight away leaves less chance for a major hazard. Therefore, if equipment is regularly being used and damaged, testing is required more frequently.
The type of equipment also comes into the frequency of using Portable Appliance Testing services. Hand held appliances are often times, more likely than not to become damaged than appliances that are stationary.
Class 1 appliances have a greater risk and should be tested more often.
There are no exact requirements for PAT testing frequency, however there are recommendations:
Offices, Hotels And Shops – Class 1 equipment including stationary and IT equipment should be tested every 48 months. Hand held equipment should be tested every 12 months and moveable equipment should be tested every 24 months.
Public Use Equipment – Stationary and IT equipment should be tested every 12 months. Moveable, portable and hand held equipment falling into Class 2 and should be tested every 12 months and those falling into Class 2 should to be tested every six months.
Schools – Class 1 equipment should be PAT tested every 12 months and class 2 should be tested every 48 months.
Construction Sites – All 110V equipment being used should be tested every 3 months
Industrial Sites – Including commercial kitchens, should have portable and hand held equipment tested every 6 months. Stationary, moveable and IT equipment should be tested every 12 months.
The prices for PAT testing depend on how many appliances you need checking. Some PAT testing companies will charge you by the appliance while others may charge you by the hour. The cost of having your appliances usually averages around £1.00 to £2.00 for each appliance.
The more portable appliances you have, the more it will cost. You should provide the Portable Appliance Testing company with the number of appliances that need to be tested in order to get the most accurate price. Some companies will charge the standard PAT testing call out cost if you only have 10 small appliances that need testing. There are a few companies that will charge a fixed price for up to 100 appliances and those who need many appliances tested can look for companies that offer package deals.
Overall, the cost of portable appliance testing services is well worth it considering the consequence of not getting them tested and having a hazard or injury take place.
Making sure you follow the regulations of the use of electrical devices and have them tested when necessary will provide your staff, employees and employers with an appliance that is safe to use and an environment that is hazard free.