Although there is no strict legal requirement for PAT testing currently in place. The Government has put regulations into place that the maintenance of portable electrical appliances is recorded and tested to prove they are safe. The most effective way to ensure that these regulations are met is through PAT testing scheme.
The UK Health and Safety Executive along with insurance companies will expect you to perform PAT testing to ensure that you are compliant with certain regulations including:
- Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
- The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999
Not complying with the above-mentioned regulations can result in fines up to £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment. Fines have been seen to go as high as £20,000 and offences heard in the Crown Court have carried sentences of more than 2 years imprisonment in addition to unlimited financial penalties. So even though PAT testing itself is not legally required, it simply helps you to protect yourself by ensuring that you are complying with these regulations.
Claims that PAT testing is required by law and that the client is breaking the law by not having it done are simply not true. There may however be local bylaws such as landlords of MHO’s. The law does require however that employers, including self-employed, ensure that all electrical equipment that they provide in their business is safe and properly maintained. This means that PAT testing is a critical part of your company’s health and safety and should be considered part of a solution to your safety concerns. You should also check your building lease and insurance, quite often its in the terms and conditions.
PAT testing provides the most effective way to identify defects that can come with use. Faults in electrical equipment pose a potential hazard, particularly if they are not repaired readily. Even though PAT testing itself is not required by law, the consequences of electrical faults should be considered carefully.
What is PAT Testing?
In the UK, PAT testing covers a range of tests including:
- Earth resistance test
- Earth continuity test
- Insulation resistance test
- Polarity check
- Safety switch test
How Does PAT Testing Work?
Some of the tests are visual – checking the condition of cables and the device being tested, for instance. Other tests require the use of computerised testing equipment which monitor the flow of electricity within the item and provide readings as to the safety of the device.
What Should you pay for Pat Testing.
The costs of Portable Appliance Testing can vary, but a smart rule of thumb to use when thinking about contacting a professional PAT Testing firm is that they will charge somewhere between £1 and £2 per appliance that will be tested. You have to bear in mind, volume, access issue and working around your team.