Whilst PAT Testing (Portable Appliance Testing) isn’t a legal requirement, you do have a legal responsibility to ensure your premises are safe for your staff, visitors and customers. If you choose to carry out PAT Testing, or have it completed by an external company (PAT company, electrician etc), it is good practice to record the results – whether good or bad – to prove you have taken action to ensure the safety of your site.
Again, whilst not a legal requirement to record your findings, it will certainly help you describe your findings, should there ever be an incident and subsequent investigation by the HSE (Health & Safety Executive). Remember, as the Duty Holder of the site you are legally bound and any evidence of you actions will clearly help you.
The documents below will help you to demonstrate what you did to your appliances (inspection and testing), when it was carried out and what you found (the inspection and test results). Where possible they should be accompanied with a method of working to clearly describe the PAT Testing methods you employ.
PAT Testing Results Log Sheet
The Results Log Sheet allows you to record a lot of information about individual appliances, including their unique appliance number, location, results of a formal visual inspection, results of the electrical tests you have carried out and the overall status of the appliance i.e. has it PASSED or FAILED the PAT Testing process.
PAT Testing Failed Appliance Report
Carrying out PAT Testing and recording the results is obviously a good practice, but the main part of the process is to identify which appliances are likely to be a risk to people or property. For example, if you inspected and tested 100 appliances and 5 of them were classed as FAILS, it is these 5 appliances which need action. The Failed Appliance Report brings these appliances together onto one document which can be presented to the Duty Holder as a kind of action plan.
PAT Testing Process
PAT Testing isn’t just a case of ‘checking plugs’ and sticking green labels on appliances, there is much more to the role. Whether you choose to carry out the PAT Testing yourself or get a contractor to complete it for you, it must be performed correctly. The basic PAT Testing process can be applied to any type of appliance and ensures that a common practice is carried out – irrespective who does the work for you.
PAT Testing Frequency
One of the most common questions we are asked is “how often do I need to do the PAT Testing?”. Without sounding flippant, the simple answer is it is up to you. PAT Testing should be carried out with a ‘risk based approach’. What is meant by that is you know your appliances, staff, work environment and methods better than anyone. It is therefore up to you to decide how much risk there will be from your appliances. You should carry out a Risk Assessment which will help you determine how often the PAT Testing needs to take place in the different areas of your company.
Here are a few things you may want to consider:
- What is the item? Something which is handled e.g. a power tool, would be a higher risk item than a computer on a desk
- How often is the item used? More use could lead to damage… usage increases the risk value
- Is the item moved? Damage is associated with movement… the more it is moved, the higher the risk value
- Who uses the item? A trained member of staff is a lower risk than an untrained member of the public
- Is the item used indoors or outdoors? Moisture and dust ingress would increase the risk
- Is the item designed for ‘limited use’? Domestic appliances are cheap for a reason and can’t perform miracles
- Is the item regularly maintained? Planned maintenance could reduce the need for frequent ‘PAT Testing’
This list gives you an idea of the kind of things to consider, but you need to think about every angle.