PAT or portable appliance testing is a policy in the UK in which routine safety checks are performed on electrical appliances. Essentially, this is a common sense safety regulation to ensure that any people, workers, or tenants who might come into contact with portable electrical appliances are not at risk of injury.
The Portable Appliance Testing rules are very straightforward as detailed in the 1989 Electricity at Work Regulations, that: “All [electrical] systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as reasonably practical, such danger.” Thus, it only makes sense to have any organization perform testing on appliances on a consistent basis.
For all types of organizations, from a small office to a large corporation an outside testing company is the best course of action, because a competent and certified PAT Testing professional will best be able to observe the appliances and look for an obvious signs of wear.
Although the law does not specifically state how often PAT Testing should be performed, it is reasonable to at least do an observational check yearly. This will include checking and testing for frayed wires, the casing around the appliance appearing to be damaged or coming undone, as well as plugs that appear to be cracked or damaged. From there, the PAT Testing professional will be able to recommend the next course of action, repair the appliance if possible, or provide guidance on the next steps for the ensuring all appliances are safe.
A qualified PAT Testing specialist will be able to perform tests and checks on a variety of appliances using PAT testers that will be able to show if the appliance has passed or failed testing including earth continuity, lead polarity, and insulation resistance, among others for more advanced testers. This is a relatively quick and easy process, generally showing if the appliance passed or failed and it should not take very long to determine how safe your portable appliances are. Once each appliance completes the test, they will be labelled with a safety sticker with a barcode for ease of tracking in the future.