What is PAT Testing?
PAT testing or portable appliance testing is an very important part of any company health & safety policy. Becoming a PAT Tester offers electricians, facilities managers and everyone looking for a new business opportunity to take advantage of the PAT Testing requirements
PAT Testing Introduction
According to The Health & Safety Executive, around 25% of all reportable electrical accidents involve portable appliances. The Electricity at Work Regulations place a legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the Electricity at Work regulations and take all reasonable steps to ensure that no danger arises from the use of such equipment. Thus, in effect, a systematic and regular program of maintenance, inspection and testing is required. The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) places this obligation in the following circumstances:
- Where portable appliances are used by employees.
- Where the public may use portable appliances in establishments such as schools, hospitals, shops and hotels etc.
- Where appliances are repaired or serviced.
- Where appliances are supplied or hired.
The level of inspection and testing requirement depends upon the level of risk of the portable appliance becoming faulty, which is in turn dependant upon the type of portable appliance, the nature of its use and the environment in which the appliance is used.
The publication the Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment published by The Institution of Electrical Engineers (the IEE) is a guide that forms the basis for portable appliance testing (PAT) in the U.K.
The legislation that is relevant to portable appliance testing include the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 puts the duty of care upon both the employee and the employer to ensure the safety of all persons on the work premises. This also applies to the self employed.
Specifically, the ‘Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998’ states that:
“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”
This is just one example of one piece of legislation relevant to PAT testing and it is clear that there is a legal requirement to inspect and test all types of electrical equipment in all work situations.
This page has given you a brief introduction to PAT Testing. You do not need to be a qualified electrician to be a PAT Tester, but it does form part of many electricians work portfolio. To become a PAT Tester you have a number of possibilities:
- Take a PAT Testing Course with a commercial or FE College training provider. They can offer the full package in one go – but often at a high price
- Study on your own with the Electacourse PAT Testing Course and Exam Simulator together with the Code of Practice. This option is only recommended if you already have some electrical experience and you have the opportunity to improve your practice skills. If you like, you can follow this up with the City & Guilds 2393-10 exam which you can find offered in many locations (at present Electacourse do not have an exam booking service for this exam)
- Remember you will need to purchase PAT Testing equipment. Some equipment companies offer a ‘PAT Testing Business in a Box’ – these include all you need to start up a PAT Testing business.