Frequently Asked Questions
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is an important part of a company’s or individual’s responsibility to health and safety. This is done using a series of specialised testing procedures on your portable appliances.
It is a statutory requirement and many insurance companies require the insured to comply with all current regulations. This includes the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, which state that “As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger” (Regulation 4(2)). “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)).
The responsibility on the employer to ensure work equipment is safe is also covered by The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. This states that “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)). This includes all work equipment (fixed, portable or transportable) connected to a source of electrical energy.”
Failure to comply with Electrical Regulations can lead to a maximum penalty of a £5,000 fine and/or up to six months imprisonment. For breaches under the general duties of the Health Safety at Work Act 1974, penalties of up to £20,000 were introduced in 1992 and offences heard on indictment in the Crown Court attract unlimited financial penalties and up to two years imprisonment.
It is all dependent on the environment in which the tools are used. If your equipment is prone to above normal damage and results in a greater number of failed items then you may require a test frequency of six, or even three months. Well looked after electrical tools may only require a twelve monthly frequency.
PAT testing is not strictly compulsory, but is regarded as the best way of abiding by electrical regulations that exist to protect employees, customers and tenants. As an employer or landlord, without regular PAT testing you could end up in a very serious position if an electrical accident were to happen in your premises where you would be responsible and potentially liable. We all know that portable electrical appliances can become damaged during use and over time, what we need to understand is that this damage could render the appliance dangerous without knowing it. Regular PAT testing and inspection will make sure these faulty items are dealt with at the right times and in the correct fashion.
Failure to comply with the Electrical Regulations may constitute a criminal offence under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, which carries a maximum penalty on summery conviction of a £5,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment which could follow any investigation after any incident.
Also if you do not have your appliances tested then you run the risk of fire or injury or even death of your employees, visitors and yourself. There are around 5 deaths each year and 170 serious injuries caused by faulty equipment which could be easily avoided if a strict program of testing was carried out.
It depends on how many electrical items that you have for testing and the price is always agreed before we start work.
You should be aware that if you have only a few appliances that would require testing that you may still be required to pay a standard callout charge, or a set minimum amount.
An engineer can test between 200 and 300 appliances a day, depending on the type of appliances, their condition and the layout of the premises. (Around 30 tests per hour is a good average.)