What is Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)?
Portable Appliance Testing (usually referred to as PAT Testing) is an important part of a company's or individual's responsibility to the health and safety of their workplace and staff. PAT Testing is carried out on all electrical appliances to ensure that they are electrically safe to use for yourself and any staff or members of the public that may come in contact with them. Portable appliances are items of electrical equipment that have the means to be connected to mains power via a 3-pin plug.
What does PAT Testing consist of?
We start with a visual inspection, checking for:
· Damaged flexes
· Damaged plugs and equipment (overheating, burn marks, discolouration)
· Incorrectly wired plugs
· Incorrectly rated fuse
Then a series of manual tests (depending on the class of equipment), they may include:
· Earth continuity testing
· Insulation resistance
· Polarity test
· Earth leakage test
Is PAT Testing a legal requirement?
There is NO specific legal requirement to have your portable appliances tested. However, there IS a legal requirement for all employers and self-employed people to make sure that their equipment is SAFE. The best way to do this is to inspect and test it on a regular basis. But remember, the law makes it quite clear that the employer or self-employed person is responsible for health and safety.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, all employers are required to ensure that anything provided for work purposes is safe. The easiest solution to make sure that your workplace is complying with these regulations is to have your workplace PAT Tested.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, states 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 Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, 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.
How often do I need my workplace PAT Tested?
This will all depend on the conditions and surroundings of your workplace. An onsite builder's tools will need to be tested on a more frequent time scale than an office computer setup in a multi-story building. RTS PAT Testing will advise you of the frequency of testing to your workplace as and when requested/relevant.
Does this mean it has to be carried out in office hours?
At RTS PAT Testing we appreciate that it is not always appropriate to have one or more engineers in your workplace working around your staff. We are very flexible and will work around your needs. If there are any issues in our engineers working within office hours we will work out a time that suits you, whether that is after hours or at weekends.
Will all our office equipment need turning off at once?
No. Our engineers will logically work their way around your workplace, testing only one item at a time. This will mean that individual workstations will need shutting down one at a time for approximately 5-10mins whilst the testing is carried out before restarting your computer.
What is classed as a Portable Appliance?
A portable appliance is any piece of electrical equipment that can be moved from area to area and reconnected to the supply via a plug and socket system. At RTS PAT Testing we can cater for equipment that is powered by 230v ,110v, 3 Phase and fixed appliances.
How will I know when our workplace is due for a re-test?
Depending on your workplace conditions (building site, office etc) We will inform/advise you as of the frequency that your workplace will need to be tested at. You will also find your next test date by looking at our test labels. Also, we will give you a courtesy call within 2 months of your next test date to remind you that it is up for renewal.
What about our servers and critical systems?
We specialise and deal with various size servers on a daily basis. We understand that it is not always viable / cost affective to your business to shut your servers down in office hours, so we strongly recommend that we carry out a full visual inspection on all server equipment. A full visual inspection will still cover you to the same level as any manually tested appliances.
What should I do if one of my appliances fails?
The onsite engineer will bring to your attention any items that have failed within your workplace. The engineer will also give you advice/information on why the item has failed and what can be done to rectify the appliance to return it to the required level of safety. Minor repairs will be done as the engineer works their way around i.e. replacement of cracked or damaged plugs, fuse changes at NO extra charge.
After we have been tested will we receive a huge pile of meaningless paper records?
No, as soon as payment has cleared, we will send you your PAT certificate and itemised report of the tested appliances carried out in your workplace. This will include a breakdown of all items tested under a specific location heading i.e. Open plan office, Kitchen, Reception etc.
We can also offer this service on a CD format, so it is possible to load and save onto your company's system
Why should we choose RTS PAT Testing?
Here at RTS PAT Testing we believe that we can bring to you, the potential customer, the highest level of service to your workplace that will keep disruption of your day to day operations to a minimum whilst keeping the professionalism in place. We pride ourselves in working alongside our clients with your company needs in mind and together making sure that the end result is ensuring that your workplace is meeting the required level set out by the Regulations of the Health & Safety Executive.