The Importance of Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
Companies in the UK are required to have a PAT certificate to show their compliance with health and safety measures along with other regulations. The testing ensures that all portable appliances meet the standards defined by several governing bodies.
The Health and Safety Executive requires that all portable appliances within commercial and residential properties undertake yearly PAT testing. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 mandates responsible parties to keep any electrical device or equipment with the potential to cause harm in a safe state. With an increase in the number of cheap electrical products in the market that arise from globalisation, (most of which do not pass through stringent quality checks), the importance of routine safety checks on these electrical products can never be overstated.
So what’s PAT testing?
PAT testing is the act of examining portable appliances and equipment to make sure that they’re safe to use. PAT involves a range of tests that may vary slightly based on the kind of devices being tested, the set up as well as the PAT testing company conducting the service. At its most basic, the testing includes:
- Visual assessment of the appliance
- Checking the flexible cables to ensure they are in good condition
- Grounding verification (when appropriate)
- Examining the insulation between parts carrying the current
- Checking any naked metal that could be hazardous
When conducting the test, the company in charge indicates a fail or pass for each item. Should there be any defects; the experts may also recommend the appropriate solutions. Typically, after the test is done on equipment, the engineer places a sticker on its surface to indicate that it’s tested. To supplement this, they also issue a certificate that shows details of testing. The minimum information of a PAT certificate includes details of the tested site, entry of each equipment along with a failed or passed score, individual retest dates and details of the individual or company that conducted the test.
A fail means that the equipment did not meet all the testing requirements with success and should not be used. Equipment with a pass mark indicates a sure sign that the manufacturers have observed all the specified standards and is safe for use.
What’s the importance of a PAT test?
As stated earlier, there is an influx of electrical appliances and equipment from all parts of the world in the country. This makes it difficult for a buyer to differentiate between what’s quality and what isn’t. Unfortunately, purchasing and using substandard electrical appliances may put the lives of people at risk. These days, it’s not uncommon to hear that many devices are found to be unsafe and are recalled by manufacturers and sometimes, even deemed unfit for use. Some electrical equipment are especially hazardous and could lead to electrical burn or shock, misuse or wear and sometimes fire.
PAT tests are meant to ensure that no dangerous equipment is used in residential or commercial premises. This is in attempt to health and safety of all occupants. It’s, therefore, critical for individuals to PAT test their electrical equipment by using the right electrical PAT testing device immediately.