PAT Testing surrey | berkshire | hampshire

PAT Testing

Frequently Asked Questions

Since 2001 ESI Electrical Safety Inspections have been conducting electrical inspections across the South East, below are some of the questions we are regularly asked about PAT Testing in the workplace.

PAT Testing Frequently Asked Questions

Portable Appliance Testing is the electrical equivalent of the annual gas safety test. Regular Portable Appliance Testing is crucial to many businesses as part of their health and safety policies.

Under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 employers have a duty to ensure that the electrical equipment they provide such as kettles and toaster, computers and workshop tools all comply with regulations and are safe for use by employees and visitors. Portable appliances can be extremely dangerous if left unchecked and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) reports that portable appliances are responsible for 25% of all reported electrical accidents.

What Does the Testing Cover?

Our engineers test a wide range of electrical equipment for businesses to help minimise the risk of accidents caused by the use of faulty appliances and extension leads.

The inspection and testing (PAT Testing) process includes: visual inspections, check for damaged flexes and plugs, and assess whether appliances are correctly wired. Inspections also include earth continuity tests, earth leakage tests, polarity tests and insulation tests.

There are complex regulations on testing, site tools and workshop equipment should be tested quarterly, and most offices and factories tend to test their equipment once a year.

ESI Electrical Safety Inspections engineers are equipped to carry out electrical checks on all standard 240v equipment, 110v site tools, and 3-Phase (415v) machinery and hard-wired appliances like heaters and hand driers. All of our PAT Testing Engineers are fully qualified electricians, time served and City & Guilds Qualified to the latest standards.

What Records are Required?

We are proud of the level of reporting we offer our clients as standard, engineers carry out inspections using state of the art Panasonic hand-held computers, each appliance is tested, barcode labelled, and recorded on our asset register including appliance details – brand, model, serial number and location.

A complete and up to date Asset Register is a vital resource to businesses of all sizes, our reporting meets Health and Safety and Insurance Company Requirements.

Your report can then be downloaded from our website or emailed allowing fast and reliable reporting.

Could I, or one of my employees, carry out Portable Appliance Testing in-house?

Yes, however, you would need to ensure that any person who carries this testing out is competent to do so. The Electricity at Work regulations states that: No person shall be engaged in any work activity where technical knowledge or experience is necessary to prevent danger, or where appropriate, injury, unless he possesses such knowledge or experience, or is under such degree of supervision as may be appropriate having regard to the nature of the work.

The IET Code of Practice states, those carrying out the inspection and testing must be competent to undertake the inspection and, where appropriate, testing of electrical equipment and appliances having due regard of their own safety and that of others.

What should be considered is that the ‘danger’ to be prevented, includes not just the dangers which may arise during the testing procedure to the tester and others, but also the dangers which may arise at a later date as a result of using equipment which has not been effectively tested.

The tester must have an understanding of the modes of electrical, mechanical or thermal damage to electrical equipment and appliances and their flexes which may be encountered in any environment Training must include the identification of equipment and appliance types to determine the test procedures and frequency of inspection and testing.

Persons must be familiar with the test instruments used and in particular their limitations and restrictions so as to achieve repeatable results without damaging the equipment of appliance. The importance must be stressed of recording inspection and test results, labelling and reporting to managers for action on defects, trends or changes in their assessment of risk.

Wouldn’t it be cheaper if I have one of my employees carry out Portable Appliance Testing?

Purchasing a Portable Appliance Testing is a relatively low-cost investment for a medium to large business, costs involved in training staff to the levels of competence required above may also be achievable, however, bear a few factors in mind.

We find that many companies who have tried to carry out testing in-house also take more time to do the testing as the staff generally only do this as part of their job, and do not have the experience to minimize the disruption factor in shutting down equipment.

There may also be a tendency to “pass” appliances that may present a potential hazard, as it would mean taking the appliance out of commission. We invest large amounts each year on ensuring our engineers have the latest technology at their fingertips, to ensure minimal disruption to your business.

Our engineers carry the latest software for detailed reporting of your premises; your report is normally prepared and available for download within 7 working days.

How do I know ESI: Engineers are competent to carry this work out?

All of our inspection and testing engineers are fully qualified electricians; they regularly undertake training to keep them conversant with the latest electrical regulations.

PAT Testing is where we started our business, and it’s our firm belief that with our engineers’ experience and latest testing techniques, we can carry out your inspections with minimal interruptions, and market-leading reports.

Each of our engineers holds suitable City & Guilds Qualifications in:

• CG2377 – In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment

• CG2377-02 – Competent Management of In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment

• CG2381 – BS7671 Requirements for Electrical Installations

PAT Testing Legal Requirements

Electricity is so dangerous that many different rules and regulations are in place to protect the staff and visitors to commercial premises against electrical hazards. Regular Electrical Maintenance is important to ensure systems are running efficiently and safely.

The running theme of all electrical regulations are summed up as follows:

Preserve the safety of persons and livestock against the effects of electric shock and burns, in accordance with Regulation 130-01; BS 7671:2008 Requirements for Electrical Installations

Protect against damage to property by fire and heat arising from a defect in the electrical installation or equipment.

Key points from the current United Kingdom Electrical Law, Regulations and Codes of Practice are detailed below.:

The Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 puts a duty of care upon both employer (sections 2, 3 and 4 etc.) and employee (section 7) to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self-employed.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state:
“Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of:

(a) the risks to health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and
(b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking”. (Regulation 3 (1))

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 state:
“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided”. (Regulation 4 (1))
“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state:
“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger”. (Regulation 4 (2))
“ ‘System’ means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment”. (Regulation 2 (1))c

“Electrical equipment includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy”. (Regulation 2 (1))

Unlike Gas Regulations, there is no legal document stating that electrical equipment must be PAT Tested. However, from the documents highlighted above, it is clear to see that companies have a legal duty to make sure that electrical items are ‘maintained so as to prevent danger’.

The accepted method for the Health & Safety Executive and Insurers is to ensure a regular programme of Portable Appliance Testing is in place to reduce risks.

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