Regulations do not dictate how often PAT testing should be done, only that it should be done “regularly”. If the point of the testing is to maintain a safe environment for workers, customers and those who hire equipment, then the testing should be done as often a necessary to ensure equipment is functioning properly.
The first step of PAT testing is to determine which appliances qualify as both portable and electronic. Two simple guidelines you can use are as follows:
- If it plugs in, it’s electronic.
- If you can carry it or roll it to a new location with relative ease, it’s portable.
Make a list of all such items in your place of business, and then perform a risk assessment on each.
The best way to know how often to perform testing on the appliances in your work place is to conduct a risk assessment of your business. Risk assessments analyze the possibility and likelihood of accident or injury occurring. By examining the environment in which the appliance is used and the equipment itself, basic risk can be adequately judged. For example, the risk of injury while using a copy machine in an office environment is low while the risk of accident or injury resulting from using a table saw in a workshop filled with paints, varnishes, spray adhesive and other workers is greater.
Based on the risk each item on your list may pose, establish a testing schedule. Lower risk appliances can be tested less frequently than those that pose a higher risk. Some items may only need to be tested every five years, others annually, and still other more frequently. Set a schedule and mark your calendar as though the testing is a business appointment to ensure that testing is indeed done regularly. Additionally, inform employees and customers of the importance of reporting malfunctioning equipment so that it can quickly be repaired. Keeping track of appliances and testing dates also provides evidence of testing to any regulators who may ask.