November 1, 2023

PAT Testing Explained

PAT Testing Explained by McDevitt Electrical Contractors

PAT Testing Explained is our recent blog detailing why PAT Testing is an important aspect of electrical safety and compliance for businesses. You and your employees regularly use electrical devices and appliances, so understanding what it is, why it’s necessary and who can perform testing is crucial. Read below to find the answers and simple explanations of Frequently Asked Questions about PAT Testing.

PAT Testing Explained by The Experts

What is PAT testing? 

PAT testing is an abbreviation for Portable (Electrical) Appliance Testing. This is the process of examining electrical equipment and appliances to ensure standards and safety. It’s necessary to identify potential electrical faults, wear and tear, or damage in electrical items that could pose risks to its users. Regular PAT Testing helps maintain electrical safety in the workplace, comply with legal requirements, and prevent electrical accidents.

How does PAT Testing work?

PAT Testing begins with a visual inspection as when inspecting electricals, most defects are visually noticeable. But while this is the case, there are some defects that can only be found by advanced testing.

Once the visual inspection is complete McDevitt Electrical & Control engineers will utilise specialist equipment to test electrical elements within the item. Tests include earth continuity, insulation resistance, and a polarity check.

Each electrical item is given either a PASS or FAIL. A label identifying the result is then attached to the appliance.

Why is PAT testing necessary? 

Electrical regulations for businesses, including Electricity at Work Regulations (1989), state that employers have a legal obligation to protect employees from potential electrical accidents. PAT testing reduces the likelihood of accidents due to regularly used electrical items. If an incident was to occur, a history of regular PAT Testing can either protect the people involved or protect the business from being liable.

How often do appliances need to be PAT Tested? 

The official requirements stipulate that PAT Testing should be done ‘regularly’. The term ‘regularly’ is subjective and is dependent on the frequency of use, reason of use and the environment where it is used.

Other factors include how often the appliance is in use, the competence of users, uses (such as domestic, commercial, or for hire) and records of the appliance. See an example below:

An extension cord is utilised in different environments, for different reasons and in different frequencies. Two examples of use are:

    • In a small office powering a computer monitor and phone charger
    • On a construction site fuelling the use of power tools

In these two scenarios, the same item is used for completely different purposes, for different periods of time, temperatures, and reasons. The extension cord used on the construction site would require PAT Testing more frequently due to the circumstances of use. The item in the office would also need PAT Testing, just not as often.

What happens if an appliance fails a PAT Test?

A PAT Test failure deems an item unsafe. Once graded a fail, the item should be taken out of use immediately to prevent any potential issues.

If you choose to repair the item, it should be carried out by a qualified electrician, and the appliance should be retested. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to replace the appliance, especially if it’s old or extensively damaged.

Who should perform PAT testing?

PAT Testing must be carried out by a competent person. Meaning a qualified electrician or specialist. As electrical contractors, McDevitt Electrical & Controls Ltd offer PAT testing. Our PAT testers all have valid PAT testing certificates and are up to date with requirements and training.

PAT Testing Explained by McDevitt Electrical & Controls

If you would like more information about our service after reading this PAT Testing Explained resource, visit our dedicated page here. McDevitt Electrical & Controls Ltd offer reliable PAT Testing to commercial and industrial businesses across the North West of England. For a free no-obligation quote from our trained operational staff get in touch.

Keep up to date with our accreditations, company news and developments by following us on social media. You can find out more about McDevitt Electrical & Controls here.

How We Can Help You?