Businesses are required by law to provide a safe working environment, suitable tools and training. Although PAT testing is not a legal requirement it is the best way to ensure that the legal requirements are met regarding portable appliances in the workplace. Various appliances require testing including a broad spectrum of essential office equipment from computers and photocopiers to appliances provided for the personal use of employees including microwaves and stereos. If the business is in a manufacturing industry an even wider range of equipment must be tested including electrical tools like drills, sanders and saws. There is even a requirement to test appliances that are considered to be a permanent part of the workplace i.e. cannot be moved to another location. This could be air-conditioning units and refrigerators etc.
There are no set requirements for frequency of PAT testing other than that it should be carried out regularly suitable intervals, however it is in a business’s best interests to ensure that equipment that is used most regularly undergoes more frequent testing than equipment that is rarely in use. Hand held and class one appliances should also be subject to more frequent testing as these categories are most likely to suffer more damage. Recommendations vary for different classes of equipment and in different environments. For example construction industry equipment should be tested more frequently than office equipment.
PAT testing is important for maintaining health and safety in the workplace. Employers have a duty of care to their workers to ensure that they are safe while at work and do not suffer any accident or injury due to poorly maintained equipment. Figures show that 30 people annually die as a result of electricity related accidents as well as many more suffering from serious injuries. PAT testing helps to prevent these situations occurring and save lives. With portable devices being identified as the cause of around a quarter of all workplace incidents PAT testing is extremely important. Undergoing these tests ensure that the business meets the ISO9000/1 and BS5750 regulations and also meet the criteria for most business insurances.
Businesses that carry out regular PAT testing are helping to protect themselves against any legal action from employees who may find themselves injured by electrical equipment at work. Companies that can show a PAT certificate to show they have performed the required tests on their equipment are far greater protected.