Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
University Policy, Code of Practice and Guidance notes
There are legal duties on manufacturers and suppliers covering the initial integrity (safety) of new electrical appliances. There are general duties on the University, as an employer, covering the use and maintenance of its appliances, designed to ensure that they remain in a safe condition.
The particular legal duties relating to the use and maintenance of electrical appliances are contained in the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989). These apply to all work activities and place requirements on both employers and employees (duty holders), in order to control risks which can arise from the use of electricity. The Regulations require certain safety objectives to be achieved but do not prescribe the measures to be taken. This allows the duty holder to select precautions appropriate to the risk rather than have precautions imposed which may not be relevant to a particular work activity.
The best means by which to control risks in the use and maintenance of electrical appliances is to establish a system of regular Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).
The PAT test includes:
- Preliminary visual inspection
- Using a PAT device:
- Earth continuity tests (for Class 1 equipment)
- Insulation testing (which may sometimes be substituted by earth leakage measurement)
- Functional checks.
Visual inspection can be carried out by all users of portable appliance, ideally each time the appliance is used. However electrical testing with a PAT device must only be performed by a person who is competent in the safe use of the test equipment and who knows how to interpret the test results obtained. This person must be capable of inspecting the equipment and, where necessary, dismantling it to check the cable connections.
All Colleges & Services are required by the University to have a PAT testing system in place.