How Often Does Your Business Need PAT Testing?

Fire Safety By Matthew Coombes

UK Law doesn’t explicitly state the need for a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) specifically, but rather the need to ensure that all equipment used is in suitable condition and inspected for damage prior to use.

Yearly PAT testing has become commonplace for workplaces because hiring someone to come and test devices and indicate their condition is often much easier than getting staff to understand how and why they should check equipment before using it.

Equipment can pass a PAT test and still be faulty, but equipment which never gets checked or tested is much more likely to be missed and used while defective if no testing takes place.

A good rule of thumb, is ‘did this equipment come to me looking like this?’. If there are stains, burn marks, cuts, scrapes and damage to the equipment, wires or plug, it’s more likely that it will be a fire risk when compared to ‘healthy’ equipment.

You should endeavour to purchase electrical equipment from reputable sources, as they are more likely to have a vested interested in ensuring the quality of their product, and that it doesn’t cause fires. They are more likely to produce equipment with higher quality parts, or at least to the specific legislative and guidance recommendations of the country of intended market, e.g. meeting UK wiring regulations.

Another thing to consider is where equipment will be used. If your equipment is being used on another site, such as visiting a client/customer (a common example for us is taking a laptop to an exhibition), the site may have specific rules on the condition of equipment, such as ensuring that all equipment brought on site has an in-date PAT test.

Always ensure that you’re complying with (reasonable) requests such as this to make sure that you’re not compromising any contracts, important rules or insurance documentation.

To summarise, while you’re not legally required to PAT test at all, just ensure equipment is in good condition, it’s much easier to just PAT test equipment yearly.

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