For the purpose of the legislation, a portable electrical appliance is taken to be an item of equipment which is not part of a fixed installation but is, or is intended to be, connected to fixed installation, or a generator, by means of a flexible cable and a plug and socket. That's the legalese version - in layman's terms this means that any item with a plug is regarded as a Portable Appliance. This would include electric drills, kettles, PCs, printers, monitors, extension lead and even some large items such as vending machines and photocopier.
Who does this apply to?
The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) placed a Legal responsibility on employers, suppliers and hirers etc to take reasonable steps to ensure that no danger results from the use of electrical equipment. This means all Portable Appliances at your place of work have to be regularly tested to ensure they are safe.
How often do I have items tested i.e. what is 'Regular'?
There is no specific schedule set out, there are however guidelines to help. The frequency of testing depends on the type of equipment and the environment in which it is used. For example a high-risk item such as an electric drill should be tested more frequently than a low risk item such as a PC. An item that is used everyday should be tested more frequently than an item used only occasionally in an office environment. Essentially it is the responsibility of the employer to assess the risk involved and implement their own program of testing. Most organisations still opt for a blanket test of all equipment on an annual basis to ensure conformity.
Can anyone test items?
No, the legislation states that the person testing the item must be a competent person.
Do we have to unplug the equipment?
Yes we do. In order to electrically test the equipment, it needs to be disconnected from the mains and plugged into a testing device. This is how the electrical readings are obtained and a PASS or FAIL status is defined.
How long does it take?
This will obviously depend on the number of appliances within your building and how easily accessible they are. A typical test would typically take between 10 and 15 minutes to test and reconnect. If you have any specific timescale's to work to, you should liaise with us and gain clarification.
Do I have to keep records?
Once again, the guidelines are sketchy as to the necessity of testing records, it would be viewed as best practice to adopt a register of all Portable Appliance Testing - in this way you are able to demonstrate that you have safely maintained the equipment within your control.
What happens if an item fails?
Most failures are found during the initial visual check (i.e. a cracked plug or an incorrectly rated fuse). These minor repairs will be carried out during the course of the testing, however other failures may not be fixed quickly and we would take them out of service to eliminate danger to your staff.
Who repairs the faulty/failed items?
Repairs to items that have failed can be done by your in-house staff or by us, it will need re-testing once repaired so most often we take the item away to repair and re-test. The price of the repair will vary depending from item to item, but our technicians should be able to give a realistic price whilst they are with you or our Sales team will send you a quote for the repair.
For help with PAT Testing call Central Theatre Supplies on 0121 778 6400