Portable Appliance Testing is a sequence of visual and electronic tests carried to confirm the safety and efficiency of portable appliances. A portable device is by definition any electrical equipment which is movable from one place to another and connects via socket and plug system. Since a majority of electrical appliances are portable, it is necessary to carry out regular PAT testing, whether at the workplace, place of residence, or any other public or private entity.
Testing is simple and is often carried out by a certified PAT tester. Depending on the accessibility, the test at each workstation can take a few minutes. The inspector/operator usually de-energizes the electrical equipment and injects test signals into the cables and appliances, to ensure they?re working safely and sufficiently. While the process can be carried out without isolating the main?s supply, isolating the equipment is necessary.
The operator visually inspects for visible signs of damage such as cords with exposed wires, plugs with broken prongs and broken switches. In some instances, your operator may use a particular machine (PAT tester) to test whether the cable insulation is adequate for the user to handle safely without the risk of electrocution.
On completion, the operator places stickers in a clear view, ideally on a cable as close as possible to the plug to indicate the condition of the test. A green label code indicates a passed test while a red one indicates a failed test. A green sticker also shows the testing date, when is the next test, and in most cases the inspector?s signature. While this is a common practice, the information may vary depending on the company and the design.
The possible reasons for a failed test include a faulty mains cable, an incorrect fuse, a damaged plug and incorrect wiring. Whichever the problem, you should adequately inform the employees or people destined to use the appliance to refrain from using it until when fixed. The operator is expected to give a report of full test results, a list of failed tests with explanations and features. You are advised to keep the report as evidence in case an accident arises.
There are no absolute rules on frequency of testing. Testing primarily depends on appliances in question and the environment. As a rule of the thumb, heavy duty devices will require frequent testing than a computer in an office environment. Equipment in a dusty and busy workshop will also require regular testing than computers within a sterile laboratory or an office setting.
It is imperative that you organize to have the testing done when the building is vacant perhaps at night, on the weekends or during holidays. However, for the process to go on efficiently and with minimal disruption, consider hiring an experienced operator.
What are the Benefits?
Appliances become damaged or worn out in everyday use. For your safety and to reduce the risk of injury or even death of your employees, tenants, and associates, you should have the testing regularly done. Not only that. It will protect you from injury lawsuits. Fire damage is one of the most occurring property damages. Research shows that a large number of fires in the workplace could be avoided if simple user checks were carried.
As a minimal requirement for insurance purposes, PAT testing prevents insurance companies from disputing fire damage claims because your equipment had insufficient electrical maintenance. Portable Appliance Testing is also necessary to ensure your appliances don?t get to a state of poor repair, which can cost you a lot of money.
What About The Requirements?
As a UK resident, particularly a business owner, you have to carry PAT testing as one of the legal requirements. The Health and Safety Act of 1974 requires that all businesses, whether big or small, should ensure that the employees are safe all the time. To meet the Electricity at Work Act of 1989, you need for a planned and programmed inspection of your portable appliances. So no matter if your in Peterborough, Bedford, Huntingdon, Milton Keynes, London or even Newcastle we can provide a solution for all your PAT inspection requirements.
As per the Management of Healthy and Safety at Work Regulation, 1999, you as the employer have the obligation to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks, health and safety of your employees or any other person you connect with through conduct or by other undertakings. Another regulation is the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulation (PUWER).