P.A.T. Testing or portable appliance testing is an important part of any health & safety policy.
This is intended as a guide to both the legal implications and to the technical requirements.
The Health & Safety Executive states that 25% of all reportable electrical accidents involve portable appliances. The Electricity at Work Regulations place a legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the regulations and take reasonably practicable steps to ensure that no danger results from the use of such equipment. This in effect requires the implementation of a systematic and regular program of maintenance, inspection and testing. The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) places such an obligation in the following circumstances:
1. Where appliances are used by employees.
2. Where the public may use appliances in establishments such as hospitals, schools, hotels, shops etc.
3. Where appliances are supplied or hired.
4. Where appliances are repaired or serviced.
The legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance is the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 puts the duty of care upon both the employer and the employee to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self employed.
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state:
"Every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessment of:
(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst at work, and
(b) the risks to ensure the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him or his undertaking."
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 state:
"Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for which it is provided."
The PUWER 1998 covers most risks that can result from using work equipment. With respect to risks from electricity, compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is likely to achieve compliance with the PUWER 1998.
PUWER 1998 only applies to work equipment used by workers at work. This includes all work equipment (fixed, transportable or portable) connected to a source of electrical energy. PUWER does not apply to fixed installations in a building. The electrical safety of these installations is dealt with only by the Electricity at Work Regulations.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state:
"All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger."
"As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger."
"'System' means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment"
"'Electrical Equipment' includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy."
Scope of the legislation
It is clear that the combination of the HSW Act 1974, the PUWER 1998 and the EAW Regulations 1989 apply to all electrical equipment used in, or associated with, places of work. The scope extends from distribution systems down to the smallest piece of electrical equipment.
It is clear that there is a requirement to inspect and test all types of electrical equipment in all work situations..
Who Should Carry Out Inspections
The Electricity at Work regulations states that:
"No person shall be engaged in any work activity where technical knowledge or experience is necessary to prevent danger, or where appropriate, injury, unless he possesses such knowledge or experience, or is under such degree of supervision as may be appropriate having regard to the nature of the work"
The IEE Code of Practice states, those carrying out the inspection and testing must be competent to undertake the inspection and, where appropriate, testing of electrical equipment and appliances having due regard of their own safety and that of others. What should be considered is that the 'danger' to be prevented, includes not just the dangers which may arise during the testing procedure to the tester and others, but also the dangers which may arise at a later date as a result of using equipment which has not been effectively tested.
The tester must have an understanding of the modes of electrical, mechanical or thermal damage to electrical equipment and appliances and their flexes which may be encountered in any environment.
Training must include the identification of equipment and appliance types to determine the test procedures and frequency of inspection and testing. Persons testing must be familiar with the test instruments used and in particular their limitations and restrictions so as to achieve repeatable results without damaging the equipment or the appliance.
Electricity can kill! Each year about 1000 accidents at work involving electric shock or burns are reported to the Health and Safety Executive. About 15 of these are fatal.
Call us for a Quote
Call us for a quote
Tel: 01527 835934
Guide line Price list.
13amp plugs: £2.50
2m flex: £4.50
Minimum Charge £65
The Prices above are as a guideline only, locally to our premises. Contact us for a Quote.
Notes: Guidelines on portable appliance Testing are contained in the ‘Electrical Inspection of Schools Leaflet dated November 1999
All Prices are subject to V.A.T.