PAT Testing

We get hundreds of calls to our technical helpline about the requirements for the inspection and testing of electrical appliances.

Inspection and testing is covered by three activities:

User Checks

Most faults or damage can be found just by looking. Users should be encouraged to look critically at the electrical equipment in their own working environment. Staff should be given straightforward training and instruction on how to carry out a simple visual check before using any electrical appliance.

After disconnecting, the signs to look out for on the equipment, cable and plug are:

Checks should be undertaken when the equipment is taken into use and during use. Any faults should be reported to the management and the equipment taken out of use immediately.

Visual Inspections

Visual inspections should be carried out by a competent member of staff who knows what to look at, what to look for and how to avoid danger to themselves and others. This type of inspection does not require the use of any specialist test equipment as it is purely a visual inspection. The inspection should include, when disconnected from the mains supply, the removal of the plug cover and checking that:

This visual inspection should not include taking the equipment itself apart since this will take a lot more time, could damage the equipment and may be dangerous.

Combined Inspections and Tests

The checks carried out as above will have identified most (but not all) potentially dangerous faults - some deterioration of the cable, its terminals and the equipment itself can be expected after significant use. Equipment may also be misused or abused to the extent that it may give rise to danger. Testing, together with a thorough visual inspection can detect faults such as loss of earth integrity like a broken earth wire within a flexible cable, or deterioration of insulation integrity or contamination of internal or external surfaces.

Competent staff should be instructed to carry out inspections and tests, using a proprietary appliance testing instrument, as stated in the IEE Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment. This publication is available from our Sales Department.. They should have sound knowledge and experience relevant the the work undertaken, a knowledge of the technical standards and be well-versed in inspection and testing procedures.

We also offer general guidance for appliance testing in non-specialised situations such as Offices, Hotels, Rented Accommodation and Schools.

The IEE Code of Practice give comprehensive information on the frequency of inspection and testing of equipment, such as:

Premises Type of Equipment User checks Class I* Class II**
formal visual inspection combined inspection & testing formal visual inspection combined inspection & testing
Industrial, including commercial kitchens Stationary weekly None 1 year None 1 year
IT equipment weekly None 1 year None 1 year
Moveable before use 1 month 1 year 3 months 1 year
Portable before use 1 month 6 months 3 months 6 months
Handheld before use 1 month 6 months 3 months 6 months
Equipment used by the public Stationary Note + 1 month 1 year 3 months 1 year
IT equipment Note + 1 month 1 year 3 months 1 year
Moveable Note + weekly 6 months 1 month 1 year
Portable Note + weekly 6 months 1 month 1 year
Handheld Note + weekly 6 months 1 month 1 year

Note+: For some equipment such as children's rides, a daily check may be necessary by supervisory, teacher or member of staff

The following types of electrical equipment are covered: