What is it?

Portable Appliance Testing or PAT Testing is the name given to the process of examining an electrical appliance and other equipment to make sure that they are safe for use. Most defects are visually identifiable, but some errors are only found when testing the device in a rigorous manner. It is essential to realise that visual examination of the appliance is a crucial part of the process because it is not possible to determine the electrical safety by testing the item alone.

When we perform our examination of the appliance, we look for several items including:

  • Electrical flaws
  • Damaged cables
  • Suitability of the equipment for its purpose.

There are many checks that can be carried out by the end user to help keep electrical items in good working order. It is important to have formal inspections of items at regular intervals. It will also depend on the type of equipment being used and the environment which it is used.

Why do I need it?

Day-to-day use of portable electrical appliances inevitably causes wear and damage to leads, plugs, and to the item itself. If undetected and unresolved, this may, in turn, result in an electric shock or fire. Employers, Institutions, and Landlords, therefore, have a statutory responsibility to ensure that all electrical appliances used by employees, guests, and tenants, are safe.

Frequency of PAT Testing

The frequency of which you should be inspecting and testing electrical appliances depends on the type of equipment and the environment that the equipment is used. A good example of the frequency of which an item should be inspected: A power tool that is used daily on a construction site will need checking more often than a TV in a hotel room.

Legal requirements for PAT Testing

There is a legal requirement to keep any electrical items that have the potential to cause injury maintained to a safe standard. Please find links below to further reading about The Electricity at Work Regulations. These links are from the Health and Safety Executive site:

To whom does it apply?

All commercial, industrial, and retail environments, and where the premises are available to the public.