What is PAT Testing Anyway?
PAT testing is short for Portable Appliance Testing and is the recognised way for companies and businesses to ensure that their electrical equipment is safe for use by their staff and members of the public who enter their premises.
Specialist testing equipment performs specific electrical tests on appliances to ensure that it is working within recognised guidelines for safety. All appliances in a business premises should be tested and these tests should be performed by someone competent to do so.
This usually means someone who has undergone training to carry out these tests in the recognised way and has been deemed as competent to carry out PAT testing procedures on appliances.
A business or company will contract a PAT Engineer to carry out testing on appliances in their workplace. The Engineer will then perform a series of tests, visually and using their PAT testing equipment, so that the appliance can be deemed as either safe to use or unsafe to use. Those appliances passing the tests and deemed as safe will be given a passed label and entered into the Engineer’s database as passed, those items failing the tests will be given a failed label and entered into the database as failed. These failed items will be recommended as unsafe for use until repairs are made or the item is replaced.
Electrical appliances in business premises are required to be safe for use; PAT testing is the easiest and most comprehensive way for businesses to comply with this legal requirement.
However, not all appliances should be tested as often as others. Some appliances need to be tested more often because they are in high traffic areas, are used more often or are in locations where damage might more easily occur.
To establish which appliances should be tested more frequently it is recommended that risk assessments are carried out on appliances to establish when a retest should take place.
These risk assessments are performed regularly and are used to establish when an ideal retest should be for that particular appliance.
The Role of PAT Testing Equipment
PAT testing equipment is the way the electrical safety tests are carried out on appliances. Without this PAT equipment, these tests could not be carried out.
Tests performed by PAT testing equipment include the following; earth bond test, insulation test, leakage/touch current test and cable and extension lead tests.
Besides the electrical tests, other tests are carried out like the visual inspection, which is also very important to establish any physical problems with the appliance.
PAT testing equipment is varied and ranges in price from budget models to more expensive advanced function models. Each model has its own merits and benefits and before a decision can be made as to which is best for your needs, it’s important to establish whether a basic, middle range or advanced model is needed. This will depend on circumstances and the amount of testing an Engineer plans to carry out.
When choosing a PAT tester it is first important to consider if a downloadable or manual tester will be required and whether a basic pass/fail tester would be suitable or if something much more advanced is needed.
If you are having trouble deciding which PAT tester is best for you, contact us on 0845 365 39 40 and we’ll go through your requirements with you and help you find the best one for your needs.
Who Carries out the Tests?
PAT testing is carried out by professional PAT testing Engineers and Technicians. Most people carrying out PAT testing procedures have undertaken a training course in PAT testing and successfully passed and gained a certificate of competence. This certificate of competence proves that they are able to accurately and safely carry out tests on appliances and can deem them as safe or unsafe to use.
To become a PAT tester there are a number of courses that can be carried out including:
- City and Guilds PAT testing course 2377-22
- PAT Testing Competency Course
- PAT Testing Business Start up Course
Which Brand of PAT Tester Should I Choose?
There are a number of brands of PAT tester and each brand produces a range of equipment for varying budgets and requirements.
Some of the manufacturers have testers aimed at those wanting a basic testing machine and some have ones aimed at those wanting advanced models and some have both of these types.
Rather than focusing on which brand of tester you should buy, it is important to first establish which type of tester you want:
- Do you want a downloadable machine?
- Do you want advanced functions?
- Do you want it to be portable and lightweight?
- Do you want a machine which has pre-set pass marks or do you want a readout?
- Do you want a keyboard as part of the machine?
- Do you want it to have a large onboard memory?
All these questions and others should be answered first to allow you to narrow down your choice of PAT tester and find the one best for your personal circumstances and testing needs.
For help with this or any other aspect of PAT testing, contact us on 0845 365 39 40 and we’ll discuss your personal requirements.