Pat Testing FAQs Nottingham, Derby, Mansfield



What is a "Portable Appliance"?

From a legal perspective a portable electrical appliance is defined as an item that is not part of a fixed installation but is connected to such an installation by way of a flexible lead, plug and socket This therefore means that any items such as electric drills, kettles, fridges, microwaves, PCs, printers, monitors, extension leads etc will all come under the portable appliance heading. Larger items such as photo copiers, fax machines, scanners etc will also be classified as portable appliances.


What is the most common cause for an item to fail?

Bare wires, often caused when a flex has been trapped against a sharp object. Industrial vacuum cleaners are prone to this problem because they have long flexes, However, if the damage is near to the plug end of the flex, we can shorten the flex to cut out the damaged part (at no extra charge).


Who does this apply to?

The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) placed a Legal responsibility on employers, suppliers to take reasonable steps to ensure that no danger results from the use of electrical equipment. This means all Portable Appliances at your place of work have to be regularly tested to ensure they are safe.


What about our servers and critical systems?

In some environments where it is not possible to turn equipment on and off, such as computer suites and server rooms, it may only be appropriate for a visual inspection to be carried out. If this is the case, then every effort must be made to carry out a combined inspection and test at the next available times. This would normally be during a scheduled shut down for maintenance purpose.


I've heard that PAT Testing damages I.T. equipment, is this true?

If carried out correctly, PAT Testing does not damage any equipment. We use special 'soft tests' when testing I.T. equipment, this form of testing is perfectly safe for delicate electrical appliances such as I.T. equipment.


How long will testing take?

This depends on the type of equipment and the layout of your site amongst other factors. Around 20 tests per hour is the average.


Does my equipment need to be switched off for the test?

Yes. It is impossible to carry out a PAT test with the unit switched on. The test invariably involves a thorough inspection of the mains plug and fuse, which is impossible to do without switching the unit off, we try to minimise any disruption by only disconnecting items as we test them. Whittaker Pat Testing offer out of hours testing at no extra cost. This is an ideal solution for your servers and similar IT equipment which need to stay on during office hours.


Why should we have our electrical equipment tested?

You have a legal responsibility, whether you are self-employed or a large business, to have this safety testing carried out; the Electricity at Work Regulations Act 1989 applies. Some words from the act follow:

“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as practicable, such danger [...] It shall be the duty of every employer and self employed person to comply with the provisions of these regulations.”  The Health & Safety at Work Act also states: “all employers have a legal duty to provide safe plant and equipment.” It's also a good way of getting some peace of mind. No business wants to deal with a fire or electrical accident, and regular testing of your appliances is a very sensible way to reduce that risk.


Does it affect your insurance?

Given the above mentioned legal requirements, your insurance company will assume you are adhering to the rules. You may have a problem with claims if you have not. Some insurers may ask for evidence of the tests before they agree cover. Whittaker Pat Testing will provide you with copies of the testing results for your use.


What happens if an item fails?

Most failures are found during the initial visual check (i.e. a cracked plug or an incorrectly rated fuse). These minor repairs will be carried out during the course of the works (for free) however other failures may not be fixed quickly and should therefore be taken out of service to eliminate danger to your staff.


What is the labeling system?

All appliances that are tested should be given a unique form of identification. This will normally be in the form of an adhesive label indicating an asset number and the retest due date.


What Certification will I receive after PAT Testing?

In addition to the labels applied to all equipment that has been PAT Tested, all PAT Test results and certificates will be emailed to you in a suitable electronic format. Alternatively a CD ROM or printed hardcopy can be supplied.

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