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Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
Pat testing or portable appliance testing is an important part of any health & safety policy. This site is intended as a guide to both the legal implications and to the technical requirements.
The Health & Safety Executive states that 25% of all report-able electrical accidents involve portable appliances. The Electricity at Work Regulations place a legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the regulations and take reasonably practicable steps to ensure that no danger results from the use of such equipment. This in effect requires the implementation of a systematic and regular program of maintenance, inspection and testing. The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) places such an obligation in the following circumstances:
- Where appliances are used by employees.
- Where the public may use appliances in establishments such as hospitals, schools, hotels, shops etc.
- Where appliances are supplied or hired.
- Where appliances are repaired or serviced.
The level of inspection and testing required is dependant upon the risk of the appliance becoming faulty, which is in turn dependant upon the type of appliance, the nature of its use and the environment in which it is used.
PAT testing service for Business
As a business, you have a duty to prevent any harm coming to your employees and customers. Portable appliance testing is one of the ways that you can comply with this obligation. Failure to implement a programme of regular appliance testing can also have insurance implications.
Insurance companies assume that when giving insurance cover to a business, the owners of that business are complying with all regulations necessary. An insurance company may reduce, delay or even refuse to pay on a claim for damage if an appliance that has not been tested has caused the damage.
Electricity at work regulations 1989 Regulation 4 (2): ‘As may be necessary to prevent danger all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent so far as is reasonably practicable such danger.’
To meet the requirements of the 1989 Electricity at work regulations, it is widely regarded to be necessary to implement a programme of planned inspection and testing of portable appliances.
In the Health & Safety At Work Act 1974, all employers have a legal duty to provide safe plant and equipment and every employer must ensure that equipment must be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and good repair.
PAT testing service for Landlords
As a landlord, you have a duty to prevent harm to your tenants from electrical appliances that you supply. Portable appliance testing is widely regarded as being the best way of complying with this obligation. Without a programme of planned appliance testing and maintenance, you could be legally liable for damages resulting from your untested appliances. This covers all portable appliances that you supply, including fridges and freezers, microwave ovens (see microwave testing also), televisions and vacuum cleaners.
The regulations on electrical appliances for landlords and letting agents
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, mandatory since 1 January 1997, state that all electrical appliances supplied with let accommodation must be safe. This applies to both new and second-hand appliances and covers all electrical items supplied for the intended use of the Tenant. The only sure method of ensuring that these appliances are safe is to have them tested by a trained competent person using the appropriate calibrated portable appliance testing equipment.