In case you haven’t read it (don’t worry, most people haven’t), the Health and Safety Executive guidance topics state the following requirement:
“Any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition.”
This basically means that as the owner of that equipment, it is your job to ensure it all works properly and isn’t in danger of hurting anyone. One of the simplest ways to do this for your portable equipment is through routine PAT Inspections. But what are PAT Inspections, and why do I need to have one done?
What Is A PAT Inspection?
The ‘PAT’ in PAT Inspection stands for Portable Appliance Testing, commonly (incorrectly) known as a PAT Test. It’s a standard used throughout the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia to routinely check that electrical appliances are safe to use. As the name suggests, this only applies to electrical appliances that can be moved from place to place, and not static equipment. PAT inspections usually consist of a visual inspection of equipment and any flexible cables for condition, verification of grounding continuity, testing of the soundness of the insulation between the current carrying parts, and any exposed metal that can be touched. The equipment can then be given a pass/fail grade and is given a sticker to prove that it has been tested. If it fails, the equipment must be repaired and then re-tested to prove its safety.
Why Should I Have A PAT Inspection?
In general, any business with portable electronic equipment should have PAT Inspections carried out periodically. Different classes of equipment need to be tested more regularly than others, with equipment in construction requiring testing every 3 months, public use equipment every 6 and office equipment every 24-28 months. You should have PAT Inspections done on your equipment for many reasons, including:
Legal Obligations: At the moment, there is no strict legal requirement to have your equipment PAT Inspected. However, the government has put regulations into place around the maintenance of electrical appliances, and the most effective way to ensure you are compliant with these regulations is through regular PAT Inspections.
To Do Business: For some business, particularly events based companies, having your electronic equipment PAT inspected is an essential part of doing business. If you don’t have a valid PAT inspection certificate, many venues won’t allow you to bring your equipment onto their premises, so now having.
It Protects Your Equipment: Sometimes electrical equipment can be experiencing problems long before symptoms start to show. Because PAT Inspections are so thorough, they have been known to catch many problems and faults with the equipment that the owner didn’t know about. This meant that they could have the problems fixed before the equipment failed, prolonging its life.
Safety: This ties in a lot with the regulations, but PAT Inspections really do help you keep your employees, customers and you safe. By having valid PAT Inspection stickers on your equipment, you are reassuring anyone who sees the device – whether it’s a kettle or a drill, that it is safe to use.
At Goodyer, we undertake a huge amount of inspections for business owners every year on a wide variety of things, but the most common is the PAT Inspection. While PAT Inspections are often the furthest thing from a business owners mind, it is important to understand that they are a key part of ensuring office safety and compliance. We are able to do PAT inspections on any type of portable electronic appliance for any industry, from jackhammers for construction services to laptops for office workers. For more information on our PAT Inspection services, visit the web page here or get in touch with one of the team.