A Portable Appliance Tester (PAT) is a number of testing instruments built into one case and designed for one main purpose: the quick, easy, and accurate testing of appliances/electrical equipment.
Unlike other types of test equipment, a PAT tester doesn’t have multiple test leads that need to be inserted or attached. Simply plug the appliance into the PAT and one fly lead, usually called the “wander lead,” which is attached to the equipment being tested.
The PAT will indicate the results as pass or fail after the appliance has been tested. Depending on the tester, the PAT may also give actual readings, thus, interpretation of results is no longer required.
Sure, you can use a combination of other test instruments aside from the PAT. However, this complicates and slows down the process of testing. Therefore, you will need more time to test and operators need more training. This is why people prefer the PAT.
There is a wide range of PATs available ranging from simple “PASS”/“FAIL” testers to fully functional label printing SupaPATs™, which produce really tough tags.
What Is Portable Appliance Testing?
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is the term used to describe the process of checking electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use. You will discover most electrical safety defects via visual examination. However, some types of defect can only be found by testing. It is important to recognize that visual examination is an essential part of the process because in some cases, there are types of electrical safety defect that can’t be detected by testing alone.
You will need a relatively brief user check, based upon simple training with the use of a brief checklist. This is a very useful part of any electrical maintenance regime. However, you may require more formal visual inspection and testing by a competent person at the right intervals. This depends upon the type of equipment and the environment in which it is used.
How Often Should I Test Appliances?
The frequency of inspection and testing depends upon the type of equipment you’re using and the environment it is being used in. For example, a power tool used on a construction site should be examined more frequently than a lamp in a hotel bedroom.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 in the UK require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. However, the Regulations do not specify what needs to be done, by whom, or how frequently. For instance, they don’t make inspection or testing of electrical appliances a legal requirement, nor do they make it a legal requirement to undertake this annually.
Do I need to PAT Test New Equipment?
New equipment should be supplied in a safe condition and not require a formal portable appliance inspection or test. However, you will need to do a simple visual check to verify that the item is not damaged.
Do I Need to Hire an Electrician to Do Test and Tag?
You will need an expert to do the PAT Testing. In many low-risk environments, a competent member of your staff can undertake visual inspections if they have enough knowledge and training. However, when undertaking combined inspection and testing, a greater level of knowledge and experience is needed, and the person will need:
- The right equipment to do the tests;
- The ability to use this test equipment properly; and
- The ability to properly understand the test results.
Is PAT Testing Compulsory?
No, PAT Testing is not compulsory. The law simply requires an employer to ensure that their electrical equipment is well-maintained in order to prevent danger to people. It does not specify how this should be done or how often.
Employers should take a risk-based approach, considering the type of equipment and what it is being used for. If it is used regularly and moved a lot – for instance, a floor cleaner or a kettle – testing (along with visual checks) can be an important part of an effective maintenance regime. This will provide employers with the confidence that they are doing what is necessary to help them meet their legal duties. Your local government should provide guidance on how to maintain equipment, including the use of PAT.
Who Are You Gonna Call?
If you’re looking into using PAT to test your equipment, then you’ve come to the right place. Just contact us and we will help you with all your PAT Testing needs.
You will also see within this web site the term “SupaPAT™.” This is not just a PAT but a whole interactive testing system designed by Metrotest and ‘SupaPAT™’ describes our advanced, fully auditable PAT testing systems. This is not just a system that the techs/manufacturers have put together. But, this has been developed from years of actual in-the-field testing. New features are being added to these all the time and it is our aim to have the fastest most accurate and auditable PAT safety testing system.
Others may compromise, but we believe in safety and this can’t be compromised. Look for a safety tester not a compliance tester.