Why portable appliance testing is necessary

All businesses should be aware of the following facts:

  • Electrical faults continue to be a major cause of fire and financial loss in the UK
  • An electrical incident is 10 times more likely to kill or seriously injure than any other incident
  • Every business has a legal obligation to ensure their electrical appliances are inspected and tested regularly throughout their working lives.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 place a legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the regulations and take reasonably practicable steps to ensure that no danger results from the use of such equipment. This in effect requires the implementation of a systematic and regular programme of maintenance, inspection and testing, known as Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).

You can expect insurance claims to be reduced or even invalidated if you don’t have a valid PAT Register. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will investigate any incident and will invariably prosecute if a business has failed to met its obligations. It may refer the case to the criminal courts where prosecutions, including charges of man­slaughter, could follow.

Choose your contractor carefully because simply handing over your PAT contract to someone isn’t enough to transfer your ‘duty of care’ to them.

Ensure that:

  • relevant public liability insurance is in place
  • the service fully complies with current legislation
  • the test equipment used is calibrated regularly
  • the technicians are qualified and relevantly experienced to carry out your contract
  • the technicians have been checked by the Criminal Records Bureau

Wherever possible always choose portable appliance testing specialists rather than general facilities management services.

See also: Electrical Safety Regulations and Guidance

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Portable Electrical Appliance Testing