Is PAT testing a legal requirement?

Legionella risk and pat blog's

PAT testing helps decrease the chance of an electrical appliance catching fire or electrocuting the user, and it should be performed by professionals. Inspections which test equipment for electrical safety and potential hazards prevent danger significantly when performed by a qualified electrician. Keep reading to find out about the legal obligations surrounding PAT testing!

What is a PAT test?

Portable appliances testing (PAT) is the process of inspecting electrical appliances to confirm that they are safe to use. The practice is known as in-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment. The majority of electrical safety flaws can be seen visually but some defects can only be detected by testing.

It’s important to know that visual inspection is an important aspect of the inspection process because certain electrical safety defects aren’t detectable by testing alone. A PAT test is not required for all portable electrical appliances in a low-risk location, such as an office. The law only states that employers must guarantee that electrical work equipment regulations are maintained to prevent danger. It does not specify what must be done or how often it must be done.

The PAT testing frequency with which equipment is inspected is determined by the type of electrical appliances and the environment in which it is utilised. A power tool used on a construction site, for example, should be inspected more frequently than a lightbulb in a hotel room. Monitoring transportable electrical equipment is often neglected given the abundance of technology that surrounds us, even if this means higher potential hazards.

Commercial PAT Testing

What PAT testing prevents and detects

PAT testing prevents danger that may come from the use of any electrical device with a plug. It detects anomalies in outlets or electrical appliances by conducting various tests:

  • Earth continuity
  • Lead polarity
  • Insolation check

Earth Continuity

A continuity test is important to inspect if there are damaged components or broken conductors in a circuit. It also helps in determining if the soldering is adequate, whether the resistance is too high for the flow of current, or if the electrical wire is broken between two points.

Lead Polarity

Electrical polarity (+ and -) establishes the direction of current flow in an electrical circuit. The importance of the polarity test is to ensure that all single-pole electrical appliances like switches, circuit breakers, and fuses are allied only in the phase conductor.

Insolation Test

This test measures the total resistance between two points separated by electrical insulation. The result determines how effective the insulation of the electrical appliance is. In other words, this test determines if an electrical object is safe to be touched without danger.

PAT testing is a legal obligation for landlords depending on their type of property. The legal responsibility of landlords may vary from one municipality to another, but if you are the owner of a house in multiple occupations (HMO), you are legally required to perform an annual PAT testing.

Landlords are legally obligated to ensure any electrical tool or appliance within their rental property is safe to use for tenants. A valid EICR certificate is the only electrical safety document that landlords must present to their tenants. This safety examination is not the same as portable appliance testing, although many providers will offer discounted PAT inspections if they are instructed to attend your property to complete an EICR.

Why should landlords perform a PAT test?

Testing your appliances provides a number of advantages, the most important of which is reducing potential hazards. PAT testing demonstrates that you offer safe electrical equipment to your renters and meet health and safety requirements.

Reduces the chances of an electrical mishap

Electrical appliance functionality degrades over time, and any flaw in the plug or the appliance itself might cause the appliance to catch fire. Every year, a visual inspection and physical check of all electrical appliances aid in the detection of problems and breakages. A malfunctioning portable electrical gadget can potentially give an electrical shock, which can be fatal, so this isn’t something to be taken lightly.

Assists you in adhering to safety regulations

The Health and Safety at Work Act and the Electricity At Work Regulations establish precise PAT Testing regulations that must be met by all organizations. A routine inspection of all electrical devices in a building not only demonstrates that you care about your employees or tenants, but it also portrays to insurance companies to what length you are taking precautions to prevent danger and eliminate safety risks.

Increases the appliances’ lifetime

Electrical appliances are not inexpensive to purchase, and if they break down frequently, you will wind up spending a lot of money to replace them. By hiring experts with the right equipment to conduct a thorough PAT test of all your electrical appliances, you can identify and prevent electrical issues.

What electrical items need to be PAT tested?

Any electrical items that use a flexible cable or plug and socket can be tested. This means that any appliance that is plugged into a wall outlet or generator should be PAT checked. Items like electric drills, PCs, monitors, printers, kettles, and larger pieces of equipment like refrigerators and vending machines should all be examined.

PAT testing is not required for cordless power tools. A battery charger that plugs into a wall, on the other hand, would need to be tested. Heated towel rails and built-in dishwashers are examples of larger, seemingly non-portable devices that require testing. Because they plug into a power source, these electric appliances qualify as portable.

Since power cords for IT equipment are held to a different standard, they must be evaluated separately from the devices they power. Cable extensions are also examined because they are one of the most common causes of safety risks.

How often should landlords carry out a PAT test?

Landlords should perform a PAT test in their building every time a new tenant rents the place. After the initial PAT test, smaller electrical appliances should be tested every two years, while larger items like fridges and washing machines should be tested in four-year intervals.

The reason why a test should be performed every time there is a new occupant is that it is hard to know what has happened during the previous leasehold. This allows the landlord to attribute the cause for damage to the previous tenant if it is the case and to monitor the electrical health of their property.

What does a professional PAT test include?

A professional PAT test includes continuity tests, polarity tests, and insolation tests. These inspections confirm that the domicile is electrically sound and safe, as well as your electrical appliances. LegionellaRiskandPAT conducts PAT tests across Scotland at competitive prices! 

Domestic PAT Testing

Our domestic PAT testing service keeps your family and tenants safe from faulty and potentially dangerous electrical equipment. Up to 10 items can be tested in this package. If you have more items to test, each additional item is charged at 50p per item. 

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Commercial PAT Testing

Thanks to our commercial PAT testing service, you can protect your business against potential hazards, damage, and injuries caused by an electrical breakdown. Prices start at £79 and include up to 30 items. If you need to test more than 30 items, please get in touch with us for a quote. All of our services include a PAT testing certificate which includes all the details and evidence of the PAT test that we issue on the same day. Contact us now if you are interested!

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Should I record and label PAT tested appliances?

It is not a legal necessity to mark inspected or tested equipment, and you are not required to preserve records of these actions. However, labels are an excellent way of monitoring and analysing the success of the maintenance program. 

How is a PAT test different from an EICR?

A qualified electrician will visit your property to verify the safety of all fixed wiring and electrical equipment as part of an EICR assessment. An electrical inspection and EICR report analyse the property’s fixed wirings, while a PAT test assesses the safety and function of appliances. That is the nuance between the two!

PAT testing services

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