Continuing with our electrical information blog series, this week is all about Portable Appliance Testing.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) is required to ensure that you are providing safe electrical equipment to your workforce. It is not mandatory to test employees personal items however, if your policies and procedures allow for such items in the workplace then you can insist they are tested to make sure they are safe to use on your premises. If you are a small business you may not have indepth knowledge of your requirements. Durham Electrics electricians can offer advice on which testing regime's you can adopt subject to risk assessment.
There are a lot of companies that over PAT test their equipment and others do not do enough. Here are some typical examples of what pat testing periods your business could adopt;
Once the office equipment has been installed there is often little movement. You could typically carry out testing between 2-4 yearly. If your staff utilize laptops then you may have to reduce the number of years depending on what your risk assessments suggest. For offices with high staff turnover with equipment passing hands it is suggested to look at annual testing.
Hotels / Restaurants
Where you supply services to the general public you must be able to demonstrate that you are conducting suitable and sufficient testing. Hotel accommodation will have a higher usage and should therefore be tested more frequently than in an office. With this in mind it is recommended to test your equipment annually.
Kitchens / Bar Areas
High usage equipment will need to be tested at least annually.
What does PAT Testing involve
It involves checking all portable appliances such as laptops, phone chargers, kettles (anything that isn't hard wired) to make sure they are safe to use. PAT testing involves switching off appliances and removing the plugs. The opening of plugs is to check it is wired correctly with tight terminals.
There are two main parts to the PAT testing procedure:
Stage One: visual inspection
All items are visually inspected which includes:
Checking the lead, plug and external casing
Checking additional external features
Opening the plug and checking the fuse, connections
Stage Two: testing
Providing the item passes the visual inspection the electrical testing will be completed. The testing involves a competent person using either a dedicated PAT-tester or electrical tester. Depending on classification of the item of equipment been tested will determine which tests are required.
When the items have passed both stages one and two Durham Electrics will then deemed the findings as satisfactory. Pass or fail stickers will have been applied to equipment. The completion certificate will then be issued.
PAT Testing Certificate
Durham Electrics operates an electronic certification system. Your certificate will be submitted on completion of paid invoices. As with electrical testing and inspection reports an admin fee will apply to hard copy certificates.
Server rooms are sensitive areas in the workplace and switching off this equipment can and will lead to significant down time for a company. Durham Electrics utilizes thermal image cameras to check for hot spots.
You may have seen or heard references such as class I or class II equipment but what does this mean and how does it relate to PAT testing.
Class I (Earthed Equipment)
Class I equipment relies on metallic parts being earthed. Where the earth is broken the equipment can become ‘live’ causing potentially fatal results.
Fact: Class I appliances rely of safe building electrics for full protection.
Class II (Double Insulated Equipment)
All Class II appliances are indicated by a double box symbol on the rating plate. Only the insulation resistance test is carried out for Class II appliances.
All appliances with a fuse in the plug are Class I
Appliances with a plastic case are Class II
Appliances with three-core cables are Class I
Only Class I appliances have metal Earth pins.
A competent person will always check the rating plate in the first instance for identification.
For more information on how Durham Electrics can assist you with your PAT testing requirements email us email@example.com.