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Last updated: 05.08.19

What is the legal requirement for Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)?

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.

Legal Requirements.

There is no specific law which directly states that you must perform Portable Appliance Testing as part of your responsibilities as an employer. However, doing regular PAT testing is still highly recommended as it helps you to address several regulations which do specify specific safety standards which 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.

Looking for more information on PAT Testing? Click Here to View our in-depth Guide to PAT Testing.

These regulations cover a wide range of safety standards within workplaces, with areas in each either directly or indirectly outlining that electrical appliances must be maintained to ensure the safety of any employees. The most efficient way of addressing these regulations is by scheduling regular Portable Appliance Testing to ensure you are meeting safety standards and can provide evidence of testing if an accident does arise. Checking electrical equipment with a PAT test is the easiest way of discovering potential electrical faults and defects before they become a larger problem or potential health hazard for your business.

Who is responsible for Health and Safety standards in the U.K?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are responsible for setting and maintaining safety standards for businesses within the UK by monitoring and inspecting businesses alongside local authorities and insurers. They will have an expectation that PAT testing will be routinely done on all relevant appliances, and may hand out fines of up to £20,000 if it is found that the standards outlined in any of the aforementioned regulations are not being met. More major infractions found in relation to these regulations may see serious prosecution and can carry jail time in addition to unlimited fines.

If you want to know more about Portable Appliance Testing, including the stages involved in PAT testing and what is required for an appliance to pass each stage of PAT testing, then our PAT testing and training course will give you the insight you need to understand Portable Appliance Testing in more detail.

Top PAT Testing FAQs

How often is PAT testing required for landlords?

There is no legal requirement as a landlord to carry out PAT testing, but it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your tenants by providing safe living conditions and PAT testing is a great way to manage electrical related risks. A PAT test is a legal requirement if you have a House in Multiple occupation (HMO) and you should carry out an inspection every five years.

Is PAT testing a legal requirement?

There is currently no legal requirement to PAT test but employers are legally required to create a safe working environment and PAT testing is a great risk management strategy.

Is PAT testing necessary?

PAT testing is an important part of property safety and maintenance and should be an integral part of your workplace health and safety policy.

What does PAT Testing mean?

PAT testing is when an electrical item is assessed using PAT testing equipment to ensure it is safe to use with the sole aim to create a safe workplace. Once assessed, the item will be given a pass or a fail.


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