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Portable Appliance Testing: Why You Should Get Your Electrical Appliances Tested

Portable Appliance Testing: Why You Should Get Your Electrical Appliances Tested

Understanding why PAT testing is important is key if you’re going to live and work in a safe environment. This is especially important once you learn that most house fires are actually caused by electrical appliances malfunctioning.

Whether it’s a heater, a toaster or a simple phone charger, having all electrical items go through a portable appliance testing procedure is vital to preventing the risk of a fire.

What Is PAT Testing Exactly?

PAT stands for “Portable Appliance Testing”, and is the name of the routine inspection given to portable electrical equipment that is analysed and examined. The process is designed to test the equipment and highlight any potential issues that could pose a risk.

The process of a PAT test usually involves the following three steps:

  1. Regular, informal checks by the user of the electrical equipment
  2. A formal visual inspection of the equipment
  3. A manual examination of the equipment with a portable appliance tester device (the PAT test)

Why Is PAT Testing Important?

Electrical items can become faulty or damaged over time, sometimes without the user even realising. But regardless of the type of equipment, PAT testing is necessary to keep electrical items in a safe condition and avoid any issues.

Without these tests, the equipment can become dangerous to use. The user can experience electric shocks, and over time a high risk of fire becomes more prominent, going against health and safety standards.

What Are The ‘Electrical Classes’ In PAT Testing?

There are different classes in PAT testing to identify a variety of electrical items and how regularly they should be tested:

‘Class I’ Electrical Items

The ‘Class I’ in PAT Testing identifies the type of electrical equipment that has an earth connection. These are often items that have a metal casing and a plug with a metal earth pin, such as toasters, kettles, microwaves and fridges.

(An earth connection is a connection to the ground that stops the user from experiencing an electric shock).

It’s recommended that PAT testing for ‘Class I’ electrical items is conducted regularly, as any damage to the earth connection can present a risk to the user.

‘Class II’ Electrical Items

The ‘Class II’ in PAT Testing identifies the type of electrical equipment that has extra insulation to prevent the user from touching any live parts of the item. This double insulation means that there is no need for an earth connection, as no single failure can result in the potential for electric shocks happening to the user.

These items typically have a plastic casing and include appliances like computers, photocopiers, hairdryers and televisions.

What Do You Do In A PAT Test?

A full PAT test requires a visual inspection of the electrical item, along with an in-depth check using PAT testing equipment that checks earth continuity, lead polarity, and insulation resistance of the appliance.

However, unless you have extensive knowledge and practical experience with electrical appliances, and you’ve been trained on handling them safely, you should not complete a portable appliance test yourself.

The Legalities and Penalties behind PAT Testing

Whilst PAT Testing isn’t a legal requirement, the law does highlight that employers must ensure that all of their electrical equipment is properly maintained to prevent danger to the users.

However, even though the law doesn’t outline how this maintenance should be carried out, a PAT Test covers most bases in order to ensure electrical equipment is safe to use.

How Often Should PAT Testing Be Done?

Portable appliance testing should be done every two years, at a minimum. However, this is only a rough guide, and if there are any concerns with an electrical item, a test should be carried out to ensure it is still safe to use.

Another thing to take into account is the Health and Safety Executive. They recommend taking the following into account:

  • manufacturer’s recommendations
  • the age of the equipment
  • frequency of use
  • foreseeable misuse of the equipment
  • effects of any modifications or repairs
  • the history of the item

How Long Does A PAT Test Last?

General IT equipment is recommended to be PAT tested every four years, whilst portable equipment is suggested to be tested every two years.

If you have equipment that is used more frequently and moved around on a regular basis, PAT Tests should be conducted every 12 months, as there is a higher risk of damage to these types of appliances.

What Will I Receive After PAT Completion?

Once a PAT Test has been carried out, the electrical item will receive a pass or fail mark. The passed items will then have a sticker placed on them, along with the date it passed the test on it to guide any future tests.

However, if an electrical item fails a PAT Test, it should then be fully removed, repaired or correctly discarded and replaced.

Stay Safe With Rainbow International’s PAT Testing

With decades of experience handling electrical equipment and conducting thousands of PAT Tests, Rainbow International’s expert team have perfected PAT Testing and provide quick and reliable results – and solutions.

Supporting businesses in their aims to provide safe conditions for their employees, we conduct combined inspection and testing to give you peace of mind.

Get In Touch With Rainbow International For Your PAT Test!

Our team of experts understand how important electrical safety is, so get in touch to enlist their help in preventing any workplace injuries and fires due to faulty electrical equipment.

Published: 11 Mar 2022
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