Recently, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published a document entitled “Maintenance of Portable Electrical Equipment in Low Risk Environments.” which sparked a ton of articles, blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, etc. stating that HSE had announced that there was no law saying PAT testing is required, and that PAT testing was illegal or not &; t has to be done.
As someone who has read this article in detail more than once, and seen many of the other articles, and to add to that, straighten a lot of people, I need to ask the question: did the source of this myth start with someone who had not read the article correctly?
My first problem: at no point in the document does it say that PAT Testing is illegal
My second problem: at no point in the document does it say that there is no need for me to perform PAT testing
In fact, the first time the term Portable Device Test (PAT) is mentioned, the document states that “not all electrical items need a Portable Device Test (PAT). So my question to all the articles I have read is this; If PAT testing is indeed illegal, as many of you have said, then why would the HSE state that not all electrical items need a PAT test? Surely if the HSE says that not all articles need a PAT test, it also says that some articles do need a PAT test. So you are not saying that PAT Testing is illegal, you are saying that PAT Testing IS a requirement.
What the document says in depth and I think this is where people are disproportionating it is “ you must maintain electrical equipment if it can cause danger, but the law * does not say how you should do this or how often. In this case, the aforementioned law is established as the Electricity at Work Regulation 1999.
Therefore, you, the business owner or manager must ensure that you maintain your electrical equipment if it may cause danger; All electrical equipment can cause danger because it is electrical; It runs on electricity, which is dangerous. That is why there is importance of portable appliance testing guide by the professionals.
How many owners or managers can honestly say that they maintain their electrical equipment regularly and keep records to prove it? As an experienced electrical inspection engineer, I can honestly say, “not many.”
By performing what is generally known as a PAT test, you are showing that you are taking steps to ensure that your electrical appliances are safe, and with the certificate issued you have evidence to show that you have done so.
The second part of the statement says that “the law does not say how you should do this or how often,” but this HSE document and other HSE documents do, as does the Code of Practice for In-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment, which PAT testing companies must work with.
Since the law does not say this, and most people do not know what the guidelines are that your company PAT Testing rightly follows, and ask the question. 8 out of 10 companies will tell their clients that everything has to be tested every year to ensure compliance.
It is this advice that has given our industry a bad name, because this advice is wrong. How often an item needs testing depends on your own risk assessment of the appliance and the environment in which it is used. Your risk assessment must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
That answer would be along the lines of (and I’m going to assume right now that your business is office-based): you work in a low-risk environment, so the chances of an accident caused by negligence are low, but there are still a posibility. Accidents happen, just like fires. Equipment is moved, dropped, coffee spilled and replaced. When you replace your computer with a new one, you remove the IEC cables from the socket and replace them too, when they are in a messy mess under the desk; not many.
Let’s See Take A Look At The Equipment You Have; Have:
Lots of desktop computers and monitors, fax machines, printers, and copiers; most are class 1 and require a ground, so they need a full inspection and test at least once every 5 years and a formal visual inspection every 2-4 years. We recommend a full inspection and test now, and then 4 years from now, with a formal visual inspection in between (after 2 years). You have # # ******; It has Class 2 desk fans and lamps, so we will do the formal visual inspection at the same interval (every 2 years).
There are many potential clients; All of your IT equipment has detachable cables and is connected with extension cables. These must be verified between every 1-5 years according to the HSE, so we recommend that they be verified at the same intervals.
Finally, you have a staff room with some kitchen equipment; Kettle, microwave and toaster. They are all very close to the sink in the small room and we are concerned about the amount of water exposure they are getting so we recommend checking them annually.
So you have always performed your inspections every year, but our recommendations above say that you should inspect and test most items every 4 years, With a visual inspection after 2 years, and the kitchen equipment annually.
This is what the new HSE guidance document is talking about, it’s not saying you don’t need testing, it’s saying don’t be fooled by companies that insist on annual testing.
Also note that this guidance document refers to workplaces that are considered low risk, primarily office-based environments.