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Landlord’s guide to effective Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

schedule 15th August 2019 by Virtual College in Health and Safety Last updated on 15th August 2019

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What is PAT Testing?

PAT testing or Portable Appliance Testing is a term used to describe the examination of electrical equipment and electrical appliances to determine if they are safe for use in the work environment.

Users can normally find electrical defects with a brief visual inspection of the appliance, however some defects can only found when they have been tested. Anyone who carries out PAT testing should be competent and have knowledge of the PAT testing process and be aware of the risks involved.

Is PAT Testing a legal Requirement?

Though there is no specific law which states that you must perform Portable Appliance Testing as part of your responsibilities as a landlord, carrying out regular PAT testing is still highly recommended. PAT testing helps you address several regulations which specify what safety standards must be met. These include the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Part of being a safe and responsible landlord is ensuring that a property is safe from the start of a tenancy and also conduct regular electrical testing throughout. This electrical testing should include PAT testing any small appliances provided by landlords to the tenants, ensuring they are free of electrical faults and are completely safe to use.

Do You need training to conduct a PAT Test?

Portable Appliance Testing should be conducted by someone who is trained – ideally an electrician – to check appliances for all possible problems, although a large majority can be uncovered from a visual inspection alone. Although PAT testing is not a legal requirement of landlords, it is crucial in avoiding a poor tenant relationship, helps to prevent hazards which could lead to lawsuits and maintains a safe environment for those living in rented accommodation.

It is recommended that smaller appliances undergo PAT testing every two years to ensure that they are in proper working order. This would include toasters, microwaves, kettles, etc.

Larger appliances such as electric ovens, fridges and washing machines can likely be left to be inspected every four years, but it is up to the discretion of the landlord for how frequently they have their large appliances inspected.

By organising a PAT test for a rented property, landlords can have peace of mind that their property doesn’t contain any potential electrical hazards that might arise from their appliances which could inconvenience or injure tenants. Checking to ensure that any appliances within the property carry the CE mark which indicates they have been constructed to European production laws can also catch any potentially dangerous equipment before problems arise.

For a deeper understand of how to carry out PAT testing and what standards are required for an appliance to pass a PAT test, Virtual College’s PAT testing course can help you find the information you need.


How long is a PAT testing course?

A standard PAT testing course usually takes place over the course of one day.

How many items can you PAT test in a day?

The amount of items that can be PAT tested in one day depends on the location. As a general guide, an experienced PAT tester can PAT test up to 300 items in an office setting and up to 150 in an industrial setting.

How much can a PAT tester earn?

The amount a PAT tester can earn will vary but the average annual salary sits around 28k.

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