PAT Testing and Your Responsibilities

The safety of electrical equipment and systems in commercial environments is paramount. For this reason, a number of government led initiatives and legislation have been introduced over the years and brought into law to better protect property and life.

One of these legal requirements is to ensure that all electrical equipment on any commercial premises is safe and in good working condition. The responsibility of making sure this happens usually falls to the duty or key holder or any other nominated person.

What Is PAT Testing?

PAT stands for portable appliance testing. A portable appliance is considered to be any electrical item that has its own plug socket and isn’t directly hardwired into a mains supply.

There is no legal requirement in relation to testing frequency so good judgment will need to be used on a case by case basis. High risk appliances in high risk environments should be inspected and tested more frequently.

Most PAT tests are carried out annually (sometimes bi-annually) and are performed by a qualified person on any commercial premises where electrical items are in use. This test will involve a competent person testing each piece of equipment with a multimeter to ensure that it is operating at the correct voltage and is therefore safe.

A visual inspection will also be carried out to ensure that any cabling is structurally sound and there are no exposed wires.

Do I Need to Hire a Contractor?

Whilst not legally required, some commercial landlords do tend to make sure of the services of an electrical contractor to assist them in the routine testing of appliances. This is usually the case within larger buildings where it would be a considerable workload on top of the existing duties of any member of staff.

Hiring a contractor simplifies this process and can give peace of mind in the fact that the law is being adhered to. A contractor can also assist in the keeping of records which may be requested at a later date in the event of an incident – most contractors will be able to provide you with an inspection certificate detailing the date of their visit as well as any other relevant findings.

There are several contractors who operate nationwide who are able to perform this service on your behalf. There are also contractors who provide electrical services in Birmingham and throughout the West Midlands so wherever you are in the country, you’re sure to find someone suitable. If required, these contractors can also assist in the routine inspection of fire alarm systems.

Can I Purchase a PAT Device?

PAT devices are widely available for purchase. If you operate smaller premises, you may find that it is more cost efficient to carry out testing and inspections yourself. If you do decide on this route, we would suggest the completion of a recognised training course to make sure that you or the nominated person feels competent in the devices use and the procedure required.

Whichever route you decide on you’ll be covered. If ever an incident takes place on your premises involving an electrical appliance, you will be required to provide evidence that you took the required steps to make sure that the appliance was as safe as it could possibly. If you follow our advice, you will be covered in this instance.


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