What Are The Legal Requirements For PAT Testing?

two banks of plug sockets overloaded with plugs

PAT testing is a legal requirement in the UK, though many of us are left dumbfounded as to the who?, what?, where? and why? of it all. 

To what extent do our appliances have to be checked and how often? Does the fridge need to be tested? Do the radiators? Can I PAT test my appliances myself? 

In order to keep your staff and workplace safe and to ensure you’re in accordance with health and safety regulations, Banner Fire can help with answering some of your most burning questions around the topic in this article.

What Is PAT Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is the inspection and testing of your portable devices and appliances, within both commercial and domestic environments, to ensure they are safe to use. The purpose of PAT testing is to prevent any accidents caused by electrical damage. 

Many electrical faults can be discovered through the visual examination process of the test, however, it is essential to electronically test your appliances as this can unearth any issues that aren’t visible to the human eye.  

According to the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989,  it is a legal requirement for all business owners and employers to maintain the standard of equipment used regularly through PAT testing, to safeguard their staff and commercial premises from damage and danger..

What Does PAT Testing Involve?

PAT testing involves both visual examination and thorough electronic testing by a competent person to identify any defects and electrical faults that may be present. This process usually includes:

  • Checking the casings and plugs of the appliances for damage
  • Checking whether the wires are fraying, damaged or coming undone
  • An earth continuity test
  • A lead polarity test
  • An insulation resistance test

These tests ensure that all of your devices are free from damage and are earthed. They are also carried out to guarantee that fuses, switches and electrical breakers are working properly to prevent electric shocks and the short-circuiting of appliances. All electrical equipment tested is disconnected from the mains during this process. 

Upon completion of the checks, you will receive a report detailing the following:

  • An inventory of every appliance checked, its name, type, a description of the appliance and its location
  • A set of test results for each individual appliance
  • A list of any appliances that may have failed the test and the reasoning behind their failure

All appliances that have qualified will be labelled with a ‘passed’ sticker detailing the ID of your inspection, who carried out the test and their signature, the testing date and when the next PAT test is due. 

If any have failed, your electrician should be able to repair the faults or advise you on the best course of action.

Who Needs PAT Testing?

It is required that all landlords, self-employed individuals and business owners from small family businesses to full global corporations, have their portable appliances PAT tested on a regular basis. 

It is the responsibility of the duty holder to ensure that all of the appliances within a workplace or rented property are accounted for and tested.

How Often Should PAT Testing Be Done?

Even though there is no legal requirement on the regularity of PAT testing, it would be wise to ensure that your appliances are at least visually checked once a year. The frequency of your devices being inspected and tested is dependent upon the type of electrical appliance and the environment in which it is used.

If your devices are being used daily, require a large volume of power to run or are being used for long periods of time, then it is likely that they should be tested on a regular basis. If in doubt, check your previous PAT tested label to determine when the next suggested test is due.

How Much Does PAT Testing Cost?

The cost of PAT testing varies depending on the type of device, the number of appliances being tested and the time it takes to carry out. If you’re interested in testing your devices, please get in touch for a full quote.

Who Can Carry Out PAT Testing?

It is important that whoever carries out your PAT testing has the skill, knowledge and experience to ensure that your devices are safe to use. This process ultimately saves lives, prevents serious damage to infrastructure and should not be taken lightly. 

At Banner Fire, our electricians are efficient and competent in carrying out PAT testing checks to ensure the electrical safety of appliances. If you are interested in PAT testing your devices, then please get in touch today to arrange a call-back with one of our team members. Alternatively, you can contact us at sales@bannerfire.co.uk or give us a call on 01902 700620.