PAT testing, or Portable Appliance Testing, is the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they’re safe to use. While PAT testing isn’t compulsory, it is an essential element of a company’s health and safety policy. This is because the Electricity at Work Regulations requires that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause harm is maintained in a safe condition.
There are no guidelines on the frequency that testing should take place, mainly because different situations will require different measures. It’s become common practice for companies to check all equipment on an annual basis, however smarter companies are taking a more intelligent approach based upon risk.
Factors for PAT Testing
There are several factors to consider when deciding how frequently your electrical equipment should be tested.
- Fairly obviously, equipment that’s used more frequently should be tested more frequently. That’s because it’s more likely to develop a fault through wear and tear.
- If regular visual checks are carried out and any damage noted immediately, it reduces the risk of a major hazard. But if lazy Dave in the workshop is more inclined to cover up damage or busy Bertie so engaged with his job he doesn’t see what’s happening around him, then you may wish to test more frequently.
- The type of equipment is also a major factor in determining PAT testing frequency. For example, a power tool on a construction site will require more frequent testing than a light in a hotel bedroom.
PAT Testing Guidelines
Although there are no requirements for how frequently your electrical equipment should be PAT tested, there are recommendations.