PAT testing (Portable Appliance Testing) is something most businesses are aware of, although many business owners are not entirely sure how it affects them and which appliances have to be compliant.
Low-risk business environments such as offices, shops and care homes can contain a variety of portable electrical appliances which by law must be maintained if they can cause danger in any way.
Portable equipment includes any items that can be moved from an electrical supply. Such appliances generally have a lead and a plug. Examples include kettles, vacuum cleaners, fans, radios, hair dryers, toasters, microwaves, photocopiers, desktop computers and vending machines, as well as extension leads and mobile phone chargers.
Although there are no minimum legal requirements as to how often maintenance should be carried out, a lot of it is really down to common sense. You need to ask yourself how likely each appliance is to become faulty. This may depend on how it is constructed, if it’s being used correctly, if it’s suitable for the job and what the results have been of previous tests.
Don’t forget that all appliances need to be maintained, whether they belong to you or your employees. You are also jointly responsible for any equipment that is used by your employees that has either been leased or provided by a contractor.
How you test your appliances depends on what they are. Most electrical items need PAT testing, although not necessarily every year. Equipment used in clean, dry environments may just need a visual inspection for loose or trapped wires, for example, or for signs of fire or water damage.
One good way of keeping on top of your company’s electrical appliance safety is to write down how often you think each piece of equipment should be checked and keep a record of these tests. You could also label each appliance with the date and outcome of each test. It’s vital, however, that the maintenance interval for each appliance is frequently updated depending on the results of each test.
You should also encourage your employees to use appliances correctly and to check regularly on the equipment and supply cable. Underline to them the importance of making any faults known to you, and make sure you remove faulty or damaged equipment immediately.
If keeping on top of electrical safety at work proves to be a bit overwhelming, don’t panic! As qualified electricians we will inspect your portable electrical appliances, carry out PAT testing and repair items. We’re always happy to give advice so that you know exactly what your business needs to do to comply with the regulations, which appliances need testing and how often.
For more information and advice on PAT testing your business’s electrical equipment, call Electric City on 07885 331 255 or 0800 0345 240.