What is PAT Testing / Portable Appliance Testing?
Portable Appliance Testing, commonly referred to as PAT testing, pertains to safety testing for electrical portable appliances. For the sake of PAT, a portable appliance is any electrical item with a plug on it that can be carried or moved. Portable appliances include items such as a kettle, a printer, photocopier, CD player, etc… Basically, if you have an item which you plug into an electrical outlet, and you can pick it up or move it from place to place, it is considered a portable appliance.
Here in the UK, regulations were passed in the mid-1970's that place a legal responsibility on all businesses to ensure that electric equipment is safe to use. This includes appliances in properties that are rented to tenants as well as equipment in offices, factories, shops etc.
PAT testing is conducted when the following circumstances are present:
- A portable appliance is used by employees
- A portable appliance may be used by a member of the public, or where the public are in close proximity
- An appliance service or repair business
- A portable appliance is supplied or hired
The amount of inspection, testing and frequency is relative to the appliance type, its use, and the environment in which it is used. For example, a dry hire company supplying PA equipment will perform routine checks on equipment every time it goes out, whereas a photocopier in an office will be tested once a year.
If you own or manage a company in the UK, you should familiarise yourself with the The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) and understand your legal responsibilities in ensuring your equipment is safe. PAT testing is a vital part of any company's health and safety policy, and not something to be taken lightly or ignored.
If you require a PAT Tester, UK-PAT runs a dedicated directory of PAT testing companies. View our PAT testing directory and locate a company near you.