Portable Appliance Testing (PAT). What are the legal requirements and legislation?
A lot of confusion surrounds the current PAT testing legal requirement and legislation.
Here’s What You Need to Know
However, it does not stipulate how this must be done or how often.
This is left down to the employer to make an assessment of how often equipment must be maintained and tested according to the risk of the item becoming damaged or dangerous through use.
Things to consider when making an assessment might include:
The environment in which the equipment is used (Harsh or otherwise)
How likely it is to become damaged?
Is the equipment being used correctly?
Is the equipment suitable for the task?
Who does this apply to?
This applies to any electrical equipment supplied by you for your employees to use, or any equipment belonging to your employees that they are using within their work role.
It also extends to equipment that is leased or rented, and also equipment provided by a contractor (but not where it is owned and used by the contractor exclusively).
Does everything require a full electrical test?
No, not necessarily.
Certain items that are static, for example a radio on a window ledge or other low use low risk items may just need a visual inspection and an awareness of potential hazards. This would include a visual inspection of the body of the appliance to check for signs of damage, cracks, overheating, a damaged flex or plug. Where possible look inside the plug to ensure the wires are tight and secure with a suitable cord grip.
Other more heavily used items such as a vacuum cleaner, kettle or microwave for example would be subject to a more thorough check and an electrical test, though not necessarily every year.
Again, it is down to an assessment from the employer as to the environment surrounding the equipment.
The important thing to remember is that you have some sort of system in place for the periodic PAT testing of your equipment based on circumstances and usage.
For downloadable information from the HSE regarding Portable Appliance Testing, please visit our Knowledge Base.
And last but not least
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Due to the ever-changing nature of regulations and the law, please visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/ for the very latest information and updates.