PAT Testing FAQ

We understand that you might have questions about PAT Testing, don`t worry we are here to help!

This FAQ section contains the most commonly asked questions and is here to provide you the customer with any information you may need.

If you have any questions, queries or comments about this section of our website, or anything else, it would be great to hear from you. Contact us and let us know!

Please find below the answers to some of the questions we get asked most often.

PAT stands for Portable Appliance Testing

PAT Testing or Portable Appliance Testing is an important part of a company’s responsibility to keep up to date with Health & Safety.

The term PAT testing is used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use.

  • This involves appliances in the work place having a series of tests being conducted.
  • After being tested the appliance will have the test results and data recorded.
  • Labels are placed on all appliances to identify whether the item has passed or failed.
  • Test results and asset lists for each appliance will be given with pass or fail information.
  • On completion a PAT Testing certificate will be given to prove the testing has been carried out and to display for Health & Safety purposes.

After an appliance has been PAT tested, a Pass or fail label is affixed to the item, this indicates a test date and also a re-test due date for the appliance.

Electricity kills and injures people.

Around 1000 electrical accidents at work are reported to HSE each year and about 30 people die from their injuries.

Many injuries at work are a result of :

  • Poorly maintained electrical equipment
  • Inappropriate electrical equipment used in unsuitable environments
  • Fires started by poorly maintained electrical equipment
  • Damaged electrical equipment still in use

PAT Testing Northwest`s professional and comprehensive approach to electrical inspection and testing could help your company minimize the risk of injury and death.

Some of the obvious visual faults are:

  • Split leads
  • Cracked plugs
  • lose wiring
  • incorrect repairs
  • wrong fuses (nails and tin foil are not fuses)
  • loose, missing, broken cases

We have examples of dangerous electrical items found in premises on our gallery and Instagram pages.

  • The Health & Safety Executive states that 25% of all re-portable electrical accidents involve portable appliances.
  • Current legislation demands that employers ensure portable appliances are safe.
  • Comply with the Electricity At Work Regulations.
  • Prevent risk of fire and injury due to faulty electrical equipment.
  • Insurance companies cannot dispute claims of damage through fire because of insufficient electrical maintenance.
  • Comply with ISO 9000 Quality Assurance Health and Safety requirements.

Although there is currently no strict legal requirement for PAT testing.

The Government however has put regulations into place that require the maintenance and safety of electrical appliances, subsequently the most effective way to ensure that these regulations are met is through PAT testing.

The UK Health and Safety Executive along with insurance companies will expect you to perform PAT testing to ensure that you are compliant with certain regulations including:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999

Not complying with the above mentioned regulations can result in fines up to £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment. Fines have been seen to go as high as £20,000 and offences heard in the Crown Court have carried sentences of more than 2 years imprisonment in additional to unlimited financial penalties. So even though PAT testing itself is not legally required, it simply helps you to protect yourself by ensuring that you are complying with these regulations.

Claims that PAT testing is required by law and that the client is breaking the law by not having it done are simply not true. The law does require however that employers, including self-employed, ensure that all electrical equipment that they provide in their business is safe and properly maintained. This means that PAT testing is a critical part of your company’s health and safety and should be considered part of a solution to your safety concerns.

PAT testing provides the most effective way to identify defects that can come with use. Faults in electrical equipment pose a potential hazard, particularly if they are not repaired readily. Even though PAT testing itself is not required by law, the consequences of electrical faults should be considered carefully.

  • The Health & Safety Executive states that 25% of all report able electrical accidents involve portable appliances. Current legislation demands that employers ensure portable appliances are safe.
  • Comply with the Electricity At Work Regulations.
  • Prevent risk of fire and injury due to faulty electrical equipment.
  • Insurance companies cannot dispute claims of damage through fire because of insufficient electrical maintenance.
  • Comply with ISO 9000 Quality Assurance Health and Safety requirements.

Current legislation demands that employers ensure portable appliances are safe. Here are a selection of some of the relevant regulations.

Electricity At Work Act 1989

To meet the requirements of the 1989 electricity at work regulations, it is widely regarded to be necessary to implement a program of planned inspection and testing of portable appliances, as may be necessary to prevent danger all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent so far as is reasonably practicable such danger.

Provisions & Use Of Work Equipment Regulations 1992

Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

Provisions & Use Of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

Every employer shall ensure that the result of an inspection made under this regulation is recorded and kept until the next inspection under this regulations is recorded.

When new equipment and appliances come into your organisation, what are the rules regarding PAT testing? Are you obliged to test these pieces of new equipment, or do you simply leave them alone?

As the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) says: “New equipment should be supplied in a safe condition and will not require a formal portable appliance inspection or test. However, a simple visual check is recommended to verify the item is not damaged.”

Of course, this depends entirely on your discretion. For extra safety it is recommended that you do actually PAT test the item, particularly if it is something that could be hazardous such as a heater.

It is also worth considering what is meant by ‘new’. New could either mean brand new equipment shipped from a manufacturer, or alternatively ‘new’ could refer to equipment that has been owned by employees being brought into the organisation.

By testing appliances that are new to your organisation it means that they can be added to the register and accounted for when it does come around to inspection time, otherwise you may have no way of knowing which appliances you have.

Another good reason for testing new products is that you are not aware if that appliance has actually come straight from the factory and been subject to manufacturer testing.

Each item that is fully tested, has to be switched off and unplugged, any item that cannot be unplugged will receive a visual inspection only.

If you have been PAT Tested before, an asset list should have been provided, including the amount of items tested.

If this is not the case then a quick count up will give an approximate figure.

Before you start counting

For example, when counting up in an office you may class a computer as just one item, but in reality this could be many more.

Starting at the wall socket, an average computer can consist of:

• 1 x 4 way extension lead
• 3 x IEC Mains Leads for each of the following:
• PC
• Monitor
• Printer

Additionally that one computer may have around it:

• Another 4 way extension lead
• Power supply unit for a router
• Power supply unit for a digital camera
• And a power supply unit for a scanner
• Power supply unit for speakers

This one computer set up would now count as 12 items, when you add in a desk fan, lamp or mobile phone charger the appliance total can soon add up.

Our suggestion is that once you have counted up all of the appliances, add an extra 10% to allow for hidden cables and extension leads or appliances that may be in cupboards, this should then give you a good idea as to just how many appliances you have.

Frequency of PAT Testing depends on the type of equipment and the environment in which it is used.

The frequencies we recommend are based on the guidelines by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) and our own professional experience.

Basically all type`s of appliances powered by an electrical supply.

The IEE Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment states that this Code of Practice covers the following :

Portable Appliances

An appliance of less than 18 kg in mass that is intended to be moved while in operation or an appliance which can easily be moved from one place to another, e.g. toaster, food mixer, vacuum cleaner, fan heater.

Movable Equipment

This is equipment, which is either: 18 kg or less in mass and not fixed, e.g. electric fire, or equipment with wheels, castors or other means to facilitate movement by the operator as required to perform its intended use, e.g. air conditioning unit.

Hand-held Appliances

This is portable equipment intended to be held in the hand during normal use, e.g. hair dryer, drill, soldering iron

Stationary Equipment or Appliances

This equipment has a mass exceeding 18 kg and is not provided with a carrying handle, e.g. refrigerator, washing machine.

Fixed Equipment/Appliances

This is equipment of an appliance, which is fastened to a support or otherwise secured in a specified location, e.g. bathroom heater, towel rail.

Appliances/Equipment for Building in

This equipment is intended to be installed in a prepared recess such as a cupboard or similar. In general, equipment for building in does not have an enclosure on all sides because on one or more of the sides, additional protection against electric shock is provided by the surroundings e.g. a built-in electric cooker.

Information Technology Equipment

Information technology equipment includes electrical business equipment such as computer and mains powered telecommunications equipment, and other equipment for general business use, such as mail processing machines, electric plotters, trimmers, VDUs, data terminal equipment, typewriters, telephones, printers, photo-copiers, power packs.

Extension Leads

The use of extension leads should be avoided where possible. If used, they should be tested as portable appliances. It is recommended that 3-core leads (including a protective earthing conductor) be used.

A standard 13 A 3-pin extension socket-outlet with a 2-core cable should never be used even if the appliance to be used in Class II, as it would not provide protection against electrical shock if used at any time with an item of Class I equipment.

The length of an extension lead for general use should not exceed the following:

Core Area Maximum Length
1.25mm 12 metres
1.5mm 15 metres
2.5mm 25 metres*
2.5mm cables are too large for standard 13 A plugs, but they may be used with BS EN 60309 industrial plugs.

These maximum lengths are not applicable to the flex of an appliance, for guidance refer to paragraph 15.13 (IEE Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment)

If extension lead lengths do exceed the above, they shall be protected by a 30 mA RCD manufactured to BS 7071.”

We at PAT Testing Northwest believe that we can offer you, the potential client, an unrivaled service, in quality and ability that will minimize disruption to your day to day operations whilst ensuring that you, and your staff, are working in the safest environment possible.

  • We have many years experience in Portable Appliance Testing
  • Our experience covers a wide range of business sectors including: Engineering and Construction, Transport, Financial Institutions, Private Landlords & Letting Agents, Manufacturing Companies, Retail Shops, Churches, Health and beauty complexes and many other business types.

Our engineers generally test between 15 and 30 electrical appliances per hour, this however is dependent on access to each item, delays and any other complications that may arise.

One engineer would typically test 100-150 appliance per 8 hour day.

Many Companies state on their website’s that they will PAT Test from as little as £0.50p per test, this is purely for a visual inspection only.

Our prices start from as little as £45.00 for full appliance tests, our prices are generally tailored to suit each company as they would depend on how many items were tested or the time spent.

  • All items with a plug are tested using calibrated test equipment.
  • All items are labelled with an electrical safety pass sticker showing date of test, item number and date of re-test.
  • A full report and compliance certification will be emailed in PDF format to you upon receipt of full payment.
Please feel free to call us on 07703269342 if you would like a chat or a visit to discuss your PAT testing requirements.
  • Any delays that stop our engineers from carrying out PAT testing will be charged for at an hourly rate.
  • The supply of goods ie plugs, iec leads ect will be charged for accordingly.
  • Fuel charge`s are sometimes applicable (although mainly included in our minimum charge).
  • All invoices must be paid within 14 days after the invoice is received.
  • Any over due invoices will be subject to a service charge of 8% per week until full payment has been received – A new invoice will be sent each week until full payment including interest is received.

1) Client Liaison :

  • Our engineer will make them self known to the person responsible for Health & Safety at the testing premises.
  • The engineer will liaise with this person with regard to the schedule of testing on the premises.
  • We will always ask when it is appropriate for shutdown of equipment.
  • Any appliances that fail the PAT test will be made known.

2) Guidelines for Testing :

  • Testing will be carried out under the IEE’s Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing.

3) Visual Inspection :

  • Flex (cable) – this is inspected for any damage, ensuring it is free from cuts, fraying, splits or stress.
  • Plug – the plug will be opened to ensure that the flexible cable is secure in its anchorage and is correctly wired.
  • The fuse will be checked to the correct rating for the appliance and it is free from any sign of overheating and in physically good condition.
  • The Appliance will be inspected to ensure that it is in good working order, including ensuring that it switches on and off properly and the casing or cabinet has no damage that could result in access to live parts.

4) Testing :

  • Polarity Test (only carried out on extension cables and supply leads)
  • Earth Continuity Test (only carried out on Class I appliances)
  • Insulation Resistance Test
  • Operational Test
  • Earth Leakage Test
  • Tests on IT equipment are “soft tests” of 200mA on earth continuity.

5) Labeling :

  • All our Pat Testing Label`s include the following :
  • Appliance ID Test
  • Test Date
  • Retest Date
  • Pass labels are GREEN or BLUE in colour.
  • Fail labels are RED with DO NOT USE Failed Safety Test printed on them and a short reason on why the appliance has failed

6) Documentation :

  • Our computerized print outs include the following :
  • Asset ID.
  • Make, model, serial number of each appliance tested Asset List Example.
  • Test results PAT Test Result Example.
  • Separate pass and fail reports.
  • We aim to provide these within 2 working days of the completion of testing.
  • Display Certificate – A Certificate for display in the staff room, notice board or reception to advise that the appliances on the premises have been tested for electrical safety will also be provided after full payment is received.

We at PAT Testing Northwest use the latest seaward equipment.

Portable Appliance Tester
Portable Appliance Tester

All PAT test results are taken digitally and downloaded to be either printed or emailed.

After full payment has been received, the following will be sent:

  • Asset list
  • Test result list
  • Display certificate

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us

Contact us for all your PAT testing needs