In the UK and Ireland there is a legal requirement for all electrical equipment in the workplace to be checked and tested regularly for safety purposes. Have a look around you right now, and you will certainly be able to count quite a few items that require electricity to perform their duty.
Even simple items such as lamps need to be tested regularly, and others such as computers, heaters, printers and more. The process involved is known as Portable Appliance Testing, or PAT, and starts with a basic visual check.
The tester will look for damage to the appliance and to connections such as frayed or broken cables. They will check that plugs are correctly wired as to the required standard. There are also more in-depth tests that need to be carried out, and we will talk about these in a moment. There are even tests that could be dangerous, which is when you should turn to the professionals at Arc Flash.
To carry out the required tests you need a PAT tester, a device that does the jobs you need, and there are many on the market to choose from. They range from very simple devices designed to do the basic jobs to more complex ones, and for a standard office one of the former will do.
Before we go on, let’s talk a little about who can perform the PAT test, and what they need to know.
Who Does PAT Testing?
In the UK and Ireland there is no requirement for a qualification for PAT testing. The regulations require that a competent person must carry out the required checks. In fact, in most PAT tests – take the average office, for example – the routine will consist of simple visual checks, to see if there is any damage to the item or the mains connections – and voltage output tests.
The tester may also be required to check for earthing, and perhaps other areas of concern. Where microwave ovens are concerned there are more specific tests relating to the radiation output, which must shut down instantly the machine stops working.
While there is no requirement for a qualification, there are some that you can put your employees through if you want to be certain they are competent enough to carry out PAT testing. There is plenty of information on these to be found, and it is worth checking them out so that you can get at least some of your workforce certified in the area, and be sure of the best results.
About PAT Testers
You can choose from a variety of different models of PAT testers, each of which offers you a range of features. You may want to check out one of the many kits available that come with barcode scanners and printers, and the software you need to upload your information to a computer for storage.
Or, if you only need a simple model, there are some that offer you a red or green light as indication when testing the likes of voltage and resistance. These can be bought for very little money, and are perfect for the simple PAT testing routines in, for example, an office environment.
If you don’t want to train an employee to do your PAT testing, you can get an outside service provider to do it for you. There are many who specialise in the field, and they will use the latest equipment and methods to ensure that all of your electrical appliances in the workplace are correctly tested and certified.
Remember, it is a legal requirement to ensure that your electrical appliances are tested and certified regularly, so work out the best way to keep up to date right now.