What does PAT Testing mean?

In the UK, the question “What does PAT Testing mean?” is a vital one in the context of workplace electrical safety.

PAT Testing, or Portable Appliance Testing, is a critical process that ensures electrical appliances are safe for use.

This article aims to clarify what PAT Testing means, highlighting its importance in line with the 5th Edition of the IET Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment, the industry standard for PAT Testing in the UK.

Understanding What Does PAT Testing Mean

PAT Testing is a methodical process that involves inspecting and testing electrical appliances to certify their safety.

It’s a key component of an employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety of electrical equipment in the workplace.

This testing aligns with the standards set out in the 5th Edition of the IET Code of Practice, which provides comprehensive guidance on PAT Testing.

While specific legislation does not mandate PAT Testing by its name, UK law requires employers to maintain the safety of all electrical equipment.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is one such legal framework.

PAT Testing, as outlined in the 5th Edition of the IET Code of Practice, is a widely recognized and effective method to meet these legal obligations.

The Importance of PAT Testing

  1. Safety: The primary goal of PAT Testing is to prevent electrical accidents by identifying potential hazards in electrical equipment.
  2. Regulatory Compliance: Conducting PAT Testing helps businesses adhere to UK health and safety laws, using the IET Code of Practice as a reference point.
  3. Maintenance and Efficiency: Regular PAT Testing not only ensures safety but also serves as a preventive maintenance tool, helping to prolong the life of electrical appliances.

The PAT Testing Process

PAT Testing entails a combination of visual inspections and electrical tests.

Visual checks look for physical damage, while electrical tests, performed with specialised equipment, evaluate factors like earth continuity and insulation resistance.

The 5th Edition of the IET Code of Practice provides detailed guidelines on conducting these tests effectively and safely.

Qualified Personnel for PAT Testing

Understanding what does PAT Testing mean includes knowing who can perform it.

The IET Code of Practice recommends that PAT Testing be carried out by individuals with the necessary training and competence.

This could be someone within the organization or an external specialist.

Scope of PAT Testing

A wide range of appliances falls under the ambit of PAT Testing, especially portable ones that connect to the power supply through a plug.

This includes everyday office equipment, power tools, industrial machinery and kitchen appliances.

The IET Code of Practice outlines the types of equipment that should be regularly tested.


In conclusion, what does PAT Testing mean? It’s a fundamental safety procedure in the UK for ensuring the safe operation of electrical appliances in the workplace.

Adhering to the guidelines set out in the 5th Edition of the IET Code of Practice, PAT Testing not only aligns with legal requirements but significantly enhances workplace safety.

Regular and comprehensive PAT Testing using calibrated test equipment, as per these industry standards, is pivotal in preventing electrical hazards, ensuring equipment longevity, and maintaining a safe working environment.

For businesses aiming to uphold electrical safety, understanding and implementing PAT Testing in accordance with the IET Code of Practice is an essential step.