If you’re the owner of a UK business in London, no matter its size, you’ll likely be familiar with PAT testing London, or Portable Appliance Testing. A vital element in electrical equipment’s safe usage, it also ensures that any such items are compliant with all health and safety standards, and aren’t likely to cause harm to anyone when in use.
What items does PAT Testing apply to?
In short, PAT testing is applicable to all items of electrical equipment that are (or can be) plugged into a regular socket in a wall, and also encompasses such devices as vacuum cleaners, computers, power tools and photocopiers, among others.
Why invest in PAT Testing as a business owner?
It’s essential that all businesses meet the legislative requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations, formulated in 1989, and which mandate that all items of equipment powered by electricity in the workplace, are able to be used safely.
While it is entirely the choice of each business as to how they achieve and show that electrical equipment used within their company is in a condition that’s safe to use, PAT testing is a fantastically effective way of proving that an item poses no threat to the safety of its users.
What takes place during PAT testing?
Made up of a series of visual checks and a number of procedures for testing electrical appliances, PAT testing may sometimes involve visual checks alone, as these are often all it takes to ascertain whether an appliance is in full working order.
Who can carry out PAT testing?
In theory, anyone who has had ample training to carry out a visual inspection successfully, can carry out PAT testing, and often, companies will designate the task to a certain member of their employ who is able to competently carry out basic testing on electrical equipment.
What does a visual PAT test check for?
A test involving visual PAT checks, should highlight the following:
- Damage to cables or flexes
- Damage to plugs and equipment, which may be from overheating
- Correctly wired plugs
- Correctly rated fuses
To properly make sure that an electrical appliance is working safely, and doesn’t pose a potential threat to users, testing procedures that are more specialised in nature will need to be undertaken on a periodic basis. Unlike visual PAT testing, this type of test must be carried out by someone qualified to do so, and typically involves more specialised equipment being used.
Such tests can include the following:
- Resistance to insulation
- Earth continuity
- Resistance to Earth
- Applied current
How often should electrical appliances be PAT tested?
A lot depends on how often a piece of electrical equipment is used, and the environment in which it is used, and it’s the sole responsibility of the owner of the business, as to the frequency of the testing schedule. A business owner may decide that a piece of equipment such as a power tool, which is used often and in a potentially hazardous environment, be checked more often than a piece of equipment with a lower risk, such as a computer or printer.
Monthly visual business PAT testing in London might be put in place for power tools, combined with 6-monthly specialised testing, for example, while a printer may be visually inspected once a year and subjected to specialist testing every 5 years. Labels are a good way of helping you remember testing schedules, and of proving that an item has been PAT tested.
What are the benefits of regular PAT testing for UK businesses?
The single most significant advantage of regularly subjecting electrical appliances to PAT testing, is that business owners can minimize the risk of a fire breaking out as a result of an electrical fault.
Arguably equally as important, regular testing of appliances prevents them from falling into disrepair and causing a hazard to anyone using them, or even to anyone in the vicinity while they are being used. With this in mind, should a test highlight that an appliance is in need of maintenance or repair, this can be carried out promptly and before the problem gets any worse, potentially more hazardous, and potentially costlier.
Another point worthy of note is that insurance companies value PAT testing, and a business that can demonstrate the safety of its appliances, may be rewarded with lower insurance premiums.
Regular PAT testing helps keep you, your business, your employees and your electrical equipment in safe working order, and establishing a regular testing schedule from the get-go, simply makes good business sense.