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Help & F.A.Q

Portable Appliance Testing – PAT Testing

What is PAT Testing
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) is an important part of a company’s or individual’s responsibility to health and safety. This is done using a series of specialised testing procedures on your portable electrical appliances.

Electricity kills and injures people. Around 1000 electrical accidents at work are reported to HSE each year and about 30 people die from their injuries.

Many injuries at work are a result of:

Poorly maintained electrical equipment.
Inappropriate electrical equipment used in unsuitable places.
Fires started by poorly maintained electrical equipment.
Damaged electrical equipment still in use.

Swift PAT has a professional and comprehensive approach to Portable Appliance Testing and could help your company minimise the risk of injury and death.

Legal Requirements for PAT Testing

The legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance is the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 puts the duty of care upon both the employer and the employee to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. 

This includes the self employed.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states:

“Every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessment of:
(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst at work, and 
(b) the risks to ensure the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him or his undertaking.”
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states:
“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”
The PUWER 1998 covers most risks that can result from using work equipment. With respect to risks from electricity, compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is likely to achieve compliance with the PUWER 1998.
PUWER 1998 only applies to work equipment used by workers at work. This includes all work equipment (fixed, transportable or portable) connected to a source of electrical energy. PUWER does not apply to fixed installations in a building. The electrical safety of these installations is dealt with only by the Electricity at Work Regulations.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states:

“All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.”
“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.”
“‘System’ means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment”
“‘Electrical Equipment’ includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy.”

Scope of the legislation

It is clear that the combination of the HSW Act 1974, the PUWER 1998 and the EAW Regulations 1989 apply to all electrical equipment used in, or associated with, places of work. 

The scope extends from distribution systems down to the smallest piece of electrical equipment.

It is clear that there is a requirement to inspect and test all types of electrical equipment in all work situations.

Who is Responsible for PAT Testing

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) requires, every employer to ensure that work equipment is suitable for the purpose for which it is provided, only used in the place and under the provisions for which it is provided. 

It also requires every employer to ensure work equipment be efficiently maintained and kept fit and suitable for its intended purpose.
It must not be allowed to deteriorate in function or performance to such a level that it puts people at risk. 

This means that regular, routine and planned maintenance regimes must be considered if hazardous problems can arise.

Regulation 3 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 recognises a responsibility that employers and many employees have for electrical systems.

“It shall be the duty of every employer and self employed person to comply with the provisions of the Regulations in sar far as they relate to matters which are within his control.

It shall be the duty of every employee while at work:

(a) to co-operate with his employer so far as is necessary to enable and duty placed on that employer by the provision of the Regulations to be complied with: and

(b) to comply with the provision of these regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his control.”

What needs to be tested

There are many European standards and guidance notes regarding portable appliances and equipment, though they do not establish a common and specific definition of such equipment. Even so, there does seem to be a consensus of opinion that such equipment is either hand held whilst being connected to the supply, or is intended to be moved whilst connected to the supply, or is capable of being moved without undue difficulty whilst connected to the supply.

It is usual for this equipment to be connected to the supply via a plug and socket, however this is not a requirement for electrical equipment to be deemed portable or transportable. It is common to define a portable appliance by saying that it is ‘anything with a plug top on the end of it’. This is a mistake as it may mean that there are some appliances in the system that are never tested.

The National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (napit) define a portable appliance as ‘any electrical item which can or is intended, to be moved whilst connected to an electrical supply.’

The IET Code of Practice gives guidance on the various equipment types:

Portable appliance

An appliance of less than 18kg in mass that is intended to be moved whilst in operation or an appliance which can easily be moved from one place to another, e.g. vacuum cleaner, toaster, food mixer, etc.

Movable equipment (transportable)

This equipment is either:
18 kg or less in mass and not fixed, e.g. electric fire.
or
Equipment with wheels, castors or other means to facilitate movement by the operator as required to perform its intended use, e.g. air conditioning unit

Hand Held equipment or appliances

This is portable equipment intended to be held in the hand during normal use, e.g. hair dryer
Stationary equipment or appliances

This equipment has a mass exceeding 18kg and is not provided with a carrying handle, e.g. refrigerator

Fixed Equipment/appliances

This equipment or an appliance which is fastened to a support or otherwise secured in a specific location, e.g. bathroom heater

Appliances/equipment for building in

This equipment id intended to be installed in a prepared recess such as a cupboard or similar. In general, equipment for building in does not have exposure on all sides because one or more of the sides, additional protection against electrical shock is provided by the surroundings, e.g. built in electric cooker

Information technology equipment

Information technology equipment includes electrical business equipment such as computers and mains powered telecommunications equipment, and other equipment for general business use, such as mail processing machines, VDU’s photo-copiers

Caravan PAT Testing

Caravan Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) Explained

Anyone who lets residential accommodation (such as houses, flats and bedsits, holiday homes, and boats) as a business activity is required by law to ensure the equipment they supply as part of the tenancy is safe.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 requires that all mains electrical equipment (cookers, washing machines, kettles, etc), new or second-hand, supplied with the accommodation must be safe.

Landlords therefore need to regularly maintain the electrical equipment they supply to ensure it is safe. The supply of goods occurs at the time of the tenancy contract. It is, therefore, essential that property is checked prior to the tenancy to ensure that all goods supplied are in a safe condition. A record should be made of the goods supplied as part of the tenancy agreement and of checks made on those goods. The record should indicate who carried out the checks and when they did it. It is strongly advisable to have the equipment checked before the start of each let. It would be good practice to have the equipment checked at regular intervals thereafter.

You should obtain and retain test reports detailing the equipment, the tests carried out and the results.

CARAVANS / FLATS / STUDIOS / APARTMENTS / HOUSES / BEDSITS / BOATS / HOLIDAY HOMES

Landlord & Rental PAT Testing

Landlord Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) Explained

Anyone who lets residential accommodation (such as houses, flats and bedsits, holiday homes, and boats) as a business activity is required by law to ensure the equipment they supply as part of the tenancy is safe.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 requires that all mains electrical equipment (cookers, washing machines, kettles, etc), new or second-hand, supplied with the accommodation must be safe.
Landlords therefore need to regularly maintain the electrical equipment they supply to ensure it is safe. The supply of goods occurs at the time of the tenancy contract. It is, therefore, essential that property is checked prior to the tenancy to ensure that all goods supplied are in a safe condition. A record should be made of the goods supplied as part of the tenancy agreement and of checks made on those goods. The record should indicate who carried out the checks and when they did it. It is strongly advisable to have the equipment checked before the start of each let. It would be good practice to have the equipment checked at regular intervals thereafter.
You should obtain and retain test reports detailing the equipment, the tests carried out and the results.

FLATS / STUDIOS / APARTMENTS / HOUSES / BEDSITS / BOATS / HOLIDAY HOMES

Fire Extinguisher Annual Servicing

Why do extinguishers need servicing?

It is legal enforceable requirement placed on organisations by the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005  to safeguard the safety of relevant persons within the premises in the event of fire. The responsible person must “ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect of the premises …are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”. Annual service and mnaintenance should be conducted by a professional competent person.

Is Fire Extinguisher Servicing a legal requirement

Portable fire extinguishers are required Under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to be inspected by a competent person at least every 12 months. Almost all insurance companies have within their schedule, a clause stating that regular fire extinguisher maintenance is required for them to maintain cover.  The standard to which fire extinguishers are maintained to is BS5306. You are required to do your own visual inspection of your fire extinguishers at least monthly, more often in high risk environments.

See below:

  • Is the extinguisher located in the designated place?
  • The correct extinguisher as detailed in the fire log book.
  • Extinguisher is unobstructed, visible and ideally its operating instructions face outwards.
  • The operating instructions which are clean and legible.
  • There are no signs of obvious damage or missing any parts.
  • The pressure gauge needle is in the operable range or position (normally in the green).
  • The extinguisher shows no signs or being discharged or leaking.
  • The safety pin tamper indicators are not broken or missing.

The findings of the monthly checks should be recorded and any problems reported to a senior company manager or your extinguisher maintenance company.

How often should my Fire Extinguishers be serviced

Portable fire extinguishers are required Under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to be inspected by a competent person at least every 12 months.

Can not servicing my Fire Extinguishers affect my insurance

Almost all insurance companies have within their schedule, a clause stating that regular fire extinguisher maintenance is required for them to maintain cover. 

Emergency Light Testing & Inspections

Why do I need my Emergency Lights serviced

This is a legal requirement of BS5266 – The Fire Risk Assessment of your Premises, where the lights are fitted as a requirement of planning laws and thus must be maintained. There is also a requirement under the 17th edition IEE electrical wiring regulations.

Will testing my Emergency Lights disrupt my business

This is possible, however it will depend on the type of fittings you have. If the fittings are part of the main lights then we will need to turn them off during the test. Our engineers are flexible and normally work around any disruption issues and we offer free out of hours testing.

Does i need my Emergency Lights Testing

Every company, individual and/or organisation, no one is exempt, where the lights are fitted as a requirement of planning laws and thus must be maintained.

Can not testing my Emergency Lights affect my insurance

Almost all insurance companies have within their schedule, will have a clause stating that regular emergency light testing and servicing where fitted to planning laws is required for them to maintain cover.

Fire Alarm Testing & Maintenance

How often should my fire alarm be tested & serviced?

UK fire alarm regulations state that your fire alarm system must be ‘adequately maintained’, however BS 5839 recommends that a fire alarm system should be inspected by a competent person at least every 6 months and the government recommends this standard.

But, if you work out of large premises, Swift would recommend a quarterly service, as there are many more components to your fire alarm system, and therefore more opportunities for something to go wrong.

Who can install a fire alarm

UK fire alarm regulations make no requirement as to who can install a fire alarm, other than that they must be ‘competent’.

All Swift engineers are trained and competent to:

–    understand the various types of fire alarm system and how they work
–    be familiar with the main makes and model of fire alarm
–    be able to identify which grade and category of fire alarm system you need
–    be able to design a fire alarm system to meet the grade and category requirements
–    have a good understanding of British Standard BS 5839
–    be able to design a system to meet BS 5839 requirements
–    have sound electrical knowledge

Is it a legal requirement to have my fire alarm tested and serviced

It is a legal requirement to have appropriate fire detection and alarm system in place in an office or workplace. The system must be fully functioning and regularly maintained.