Pat Testing Q & A


What is PAT Testing? (Portable Appliance Testing)

What is Pat Testing you ask? Portable Appliance Testing,  using specially calibrated Testing Equipment a set of various tests are carried out to establish the safety of a Portable Appliance, defined as an electrical appliance which can be moved whilst plugged into an electrical socket.


Tests include a Full Visual Inspection of the Equipment including removal of the plug top to check the fuse rating and the wiring, minor repairs are made if necessary. 

 If the item passes the Visual Inspection an Earth Continuity Test (class 1 equipment) is carried out through the Test Machine followed by the Insulation Resistance Test and then Sub-leakage.  

The Engineers use the latest in Test Equipment which has been set up and calibrated in line with the latest IEE 4th Edition Regulations. The Machine has various settings for the equipment including a special test for I.T. Equipment.     

Every appliance and associated leads have their own identification number and Pass or Fail Label.  These labels are placed in a methodical area of the equipment where is it visually seen. Failed items are marked accordingly and pointed out the Supervisor at the time of test.     

The Record of Tests are downloaded from the Test Machine to the latest Seaward Testing Program, designed for the 4th Edition Regulations.  This allows us to produce a comprehensive set of Results and Asset Register of your Appliances.  We also supply a separate Test Certificate.  We also produce a Viewer Disk for the customer, hence no need for you to logon to company databases to search for your information.

When should I have my Appliances Tested?

The Electricity at Work Regulations state that “equipment shall be maintained so as to prevent danger”.  By testing equipment it determines whether maintenance is required. 

The Test Frequency is dependent on the environment, the users, the construction and the type of equipment. Most of our Customers choose to have their equipment tested every 12 Months for their peace of mind.  For example Construction Sites test every 3 – 6 Months and some Schools divide their equipment into units where equipment used daily is tested yearly, and other equipment with minor use tested two yearly.  Other Business premises where equipment is well looked after have their IT Equipment fully Inspected and Tested in the first year and Visually Inspected in the second year.  Others decide on a 4 Year Test and Inspection where they carry out their own Visual Inspections inbetween, by a competent employee.

Will avoiding PAT Testing effect my Insurance?

Most Insurance Companies assume that Businesses comply with current Health & Safety Regulations when insuring you.  Insurance Companies have been known to delay, reduce or even cancel Insurance should a claim arise for damage caused by electrical equipment that has not been tested. Our advice is to check you Insurance.

Do I need new Equipment PAT Tested?

In answer to this question, No, as a general rule. New equipment should be supplied in a safe condition, and should not require an Inspection & Test in the first year.  However, it is recommended that a Visual Inspection is carried out by a competent person to check for any damage throughout the year.  Our Engineers have failed brand new equipment, found to be faulty and not complying with the BS Standard.

I have a faulty appliance in my Workplace?

When you find a faulty or damaged appliance stop using the equipment and tell your Health & Safety Manager immediately, who will safely disconnect the appliance and take it out of service.  Do not try to rectify the problem if you are not qualified to do so.

Can anyone carry out PAT Testing?

The IET Code of Practice states that a ‘competent’ person who has been trained can carry out Portable Appliance Testing.  

The Code states: 

Technical knowledge or experience may include: 

- Adequate experience of Electricity 

- Adequate experience of Electrical Work

- Understanding the system to be worked on and practical experience of the class of equipment.

- Understanding the hazards that may arise during the work and the precautions that need to be taken, or 

- The ability to recognize at all times whether it is safe for work to continue.