All You Need To Know About PAT Testing In Hastings
We'll start this off by being honest. If you are finding this blog because you haven't the foggiest about PAT Testing, you're not alone. There has always been confusion surrounding the exact nature of PAT Testing and the necessity of it in both a business and domestic environment, but that's why we at Acron are here to help!
What Is PAT Testing?
So, first of all, what actually IS PAT Testing?
PAT stands for portable appliance testing, which is the process of checking your electrical appliances to make sure they are safe to use using specialist testing equipment.
Do not discount the importance of visual testing though, as most electrical safety defects can be found just by casting an eye over them.
Likewise, don't rely on visual testing as your solitary testing method - some defects can't be detected using equipment - YOU NEED TO DO BOTH!
There are 7 categories of appliance that should be considered for PAT Testing:
- Fixed appliances
- Stationary appliances
- IT appliances
- Moveable appliances
- Portable appliances
- Cables and chargers
- Handheld appliances
Why Do You Need PAT Testing?
According to the Health & Safety Executive, 25% of all reportable electrical accidents are accounted for by portable appliances.
To make sure that your employees, or even family, are safe from electrical accidents PAT Testing should be a critical part of your electrical maintenance.
As portable appliances get older, they are subject to wear and tear, which may include damage to wires and wire coating, which is one of the main causes of electrical fires!
If you don't PAT test your appliances these faults can lead to injuries and damage to your property.
PAT testing is also a key part in conforming to regulations such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, The Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Failure to comply with these regulations could land you with fines of up to £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment! Whilst PAT Testing is not a legal requirement itself, it does help you to comply with the regulations and avoid the consequences of not doing so.
Which Appliances Need PAT Testing?
As alluded to earlier, there are different types (or categories) of appliances that need testing. Another contributing factor in the kind of appliances that need testing is their "electrical class" which defines how dangerous they are if they develop faults.
The different classes are:
Class One - these appliances only have basic insulation and rely on earth protection (examples are things like printers, desktop computers, fridges, kettles, extension leads).
Class Two - these appliances have extra insulation and don't rely on earth protection, meaning they are safer (examples are things like lamps, televisions and drills)
Class Three - Class Three appliances are low voltage items, which are the safest class of appliances. However, their charging leads may need PAT Testing (examples include laptops, torches, cameras and mobile phone chargers).
What goes into a PAT test?
PAT Testing involves a series of steps and checks using equipment that can show the status of earth continuity, lead polarity and insulation resistance, among other things.
Each appliance will be given a "pass" or "fail" rating, and will then be given one of the labels shown in the image. From there, the electrician carrying out the testing can advise you on the next steps or carry out the necessary repairs.
How often do I need PAT Testing?
Again, the answer to this question, like so many others around PAT Testing, is vague.
The Health and Safety Executive recommends taking different factors into consideration:
- manufacturer's recommendation
- the age of the equipment
- frequency of use
- foreseeable misuse of the equipment
- effects of any modifications or repairs
- the history of the item
There technically aren't any specific rules as to how often PAT Testing should be carried out, apart from that the frequency should be defined by the level of risk.
Depending on what environment you work in, the level of risk from faulty electrical appliances varies. For example, appliances in an office that are used regularly and are stationary are less risky than handheld appliances operated on a construction site by multiple workers.
The table on the right demonstrates the differing levels of risk for business environments.
How Much Will PAT Testing Cost Me?
Acron Electrics are capable of making sure your business and home appliances are safe for use and that you will not be breaching any health and safety regulations.
If you are looking to protect yourself, and your colleagues and family, from being harmed by faulty appliances, get in touch with Acron Electrics for professional, qualified PAT Testing.