What You Must Know About PAT Testing in London

The Health and Safety Executive in the UK, and enactment, for example, the Electricity at Work Regulations, express that electrical apparatuses ought to be kept up to guarantee that they are sheltered and represent no danger of damage to the people utilizing them. The main genuine approach to conform to the different bits of enactment is known as Pat Testing and in London, it is an imperative part of any wellbeing and security strategy inside the work environment.

With more than a quarter century of reported mischances which include electrical gear finishing in a casualty, measurements demonstrate that in circumstances where PAT testing does not occur in London, electrical hardware has neglected to be accurately kept up. Furthermore, episodes of flame often begin by electrical machines either not being kept in great condition or by gear being utilized for purposes other than proposed or by being put away in unacceptable conditions.

The level to which the hardware must be have PAT Testing performed, relies on upon the sort of apparatus, the nature and area in which it is utilized and the probability of it getting to be flawed. The Health and Safety at Work Act puts a legitimate commitment on businesses and the independently employed in circumstances where electrical apparatuses are utilized by representatives as a part of the working environment. This additionally applies to such places where repairs or administrations of hardware are completed, or by people in general for instance, in shops, lodgings, schools, medicinal focuses, and rental shops with gear for contract.

On the off chance that you fall into any of the aforementioned classes or one comparative, then you have to guarantee your versatile electric machines are tried as needs be.

How would you choose which organization you ought to use to do your PAT Testing?

All things considered, there are a couple of things to discover preceding selecting a temporary worker.

The firm you are thinking about utilizing ought to be licensed by an outer association, for example, NICEIC. This association has strict measures and any licensed organization will have the capacity to supply you with a full strategy explanation and a danger appraisal of any work waiting be done to guarantee the gear is kept up to the required level.

In spite of the fact that the specialists playing out the testing are not lawfully obliged to hold City and Guilds 2377 authentications, capabilities of this kind are prone to energize your trust in the PAT Testing organization.

You can likewise approach the organization to give references to you of individuals who have utilized their administrations as a part of the past. You can then get in touch with them and request their assessment of the demonstrable skill of the organization.

Whilst having your hardware tried, you would prefer not to lessen your business turnover so it is key to have the capacity to keep your business running all through this timeframe. This should be possible by picking a PAT Testing organization who are adaptable and arranged to work to your necessities along these lines bringing on as meager disturbance as could be expected under the circumstances to the working day.

PAT Testing Equipment – Advice on Choosing the Right Type of PAT Testing Equipment

Electrical equipment is one of the most common causes of workplace fires and this is frequently due to a faulty or damaged appliance. Workplace health and safety legislation requires all employers to carry out regular testing on all portable electrical appliances, and to ensure that they are maintained in safe working order.

Whether you buy in the services of a specialist contractor or train your own staff to do your PAT testing in-house will depend on the nature of your workplace and size of your business. Testing courses are normally only a single day, and you can purchase PAT testing equipment very easily. However, there are several different types of PAT tester out there, and you should consider which type is best going to suit your needs before you purchase. This article is intended to help you narrow down your search to find the most appropriate PAT testing equipment.

Pass/Fail Type Equipment

Starting at the beginning, the Pass/Fail sort of devices are the simplest and most basic models, giving only a straight pass or fail result and no further detail. PAT testing equipment can be designed to carry out various different tests, but the pass/fail type tend to only do the insulation and earth continuity tests. They are unlikely to offer the selectable earth continuity test current, which is an important point, as this can be a problem unless you only have a very limited number and type of appliances to test.

The difficulty with PAT testing equipment without a variable current are limited in the equipment they can test reliably. Equipment with a higher current should not be used on IT equipment and testers with a fixed low current are not reliable for testing general electrical appliances. If you need to PAT test a range of different types of appliances accurately you will therefore need to have a selectable current function.

Another restriction with pass/fail PAT testing equipment is that they will have a fixed earth bond pass limit, which does not allow any adjustment. The problem with this is that it can result in some equipment failing the test, simply because they have very long leads, rather than because anything is wrong with them. While it may be tempting to increase the limit to compensate for this, doing so would actually contravene the IEE (Institute of Electrical Engineers) Code of Practice and perfectly good appliances may still not pass.

Manual Testing Equipment

Manual PAT testing equipment has greater functionality than the simple pass/fail type, which can overcome the problems highlighted above. These increased functions and the greater detail and variability do, however, mean that the testers are a bit more complicated, so anyone using them would require a more in depth knowledge in order to fully utilise and understand them. There is therefore an implication for staff training. The selectable earth continuity test current in this type of device makes them suitable for testing IT equipment.

Downloadable Pat Testers

Downloadable PAT testing equipment automates the testing process and stores the results so that they can be printed off or downloaded to a computer. This function can be a great advantage if your premises are particularly large or complicated. These testers can also have other functionality covering all sorts of things, some of which may be of more use than others, depending on your situation.

One function worth looking for is the ability to take true earth bond measurements. This is a feature that can save your testers time, and therefore cost you less. Carrying out earth bond measurements on appliances that have multiple earth paths (on a PC for example) cannot be done without disconnecting it from all other equipment first, unless your PAT tester has this function. That can add a lot of time and money if you have a significant amount of IT equipment to test.

HSE Says PAT Testing Is Not a Legal Requirement – Or Does It?

Recently the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released a document entitled “Maintaining portable electric equipment in low-risk environments” which prompted loads of articles, blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, etc. stating that the HSE had announced that there was no law that says PAT Testing is required, and that PAT Testing was illegal or didn’t have to be done.

As someone who has read this article in detail more than once, and seen many of the other articles, and to add to that, put many people right, I need to ask the question – did the source of this myth start with someone who hadn’t read the article correctly?

My first issue: at no point in the document does it say that PAT Testing is illegal
My second issue: at no point in the document does it say that you don’t have to get PAT Tested

In fact the first time the term Portable Appliance Test (PAT) is mentioned the document states “not every electrical item needs a portable appliance test (PAT)”. So my question to all those articles I have read is this; if PAT Testing is in fact illegal, as so many of you have said, then why would the HSE state that not every electrical item needs a PAT Test? Surely if the HSE says not every item needs a PAT test, then it also says that some items DO need a PAT test. Thus it is not saying that PAT Testing is illegal but is in fact saying that PAT Testing IS a requirement.

What the document does say, in depth and I think this is where people are taking it out of proportion is “you must maintain electrical equipment if it can cause danger, but the law* does not say how you must do this or how often”. In this case the law referred to is stated as the Electricity at Work Regulations 1999.

So, you, the business owner or manager must ensure you maintain your electrical equipment if it can cause danger – all electrical equipment can cause danger because it is electrical; it works from electricity, which is dangerous.

How many owners or managers can honestly say that they maintain their electrical equipment on a regular basis and keep records to prove it. As an experience electrical inspection engineer I can honestly say, “not many”.

By conducting what is generally referred to as a PAT Test, you are showing that you are taking action to ensure your electrical appliances are safe, and with the certificate issued you have evidence to prove you have done this.

The second part of the statement says that “the law does not say how you must do this or how often”, but this HSE document and other HSE documents do, as does the Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of electrical equipment, which PAT Testing companies are supposed to work to.

What is PAT Testing and Why is it Important?

If you are involved in the running of the business, chances are you will have heard of PAT testing. There is no escaping the health and safety regulations in the UK that instruct all businesses, no matter how large or small, to ensure that their staff are free from harm at all times, and PAT testing is one way to meet said regulations concerning portable electrical appliances.

Portable Appliance Testing is essentially a process that involves checking each and every portable electrical appliance that is used by a company. Many different types of electrical equipment require this testing to be done on a regular basis (usually yearly) to ensure that workers are kept safe.

Keep reading now to learn more about the fundamentals of PAT testing, as well as the reasons why it is so important in our society.

What Is PAT Testing?

There are different types of PAT tests, from formal visual inspections to the use of one of many different types of PAT testing machines. Different tests are used by different companies, and for different electrical appliances. The majority of appliances owned by your company will be subject to several different checks to ensure absolute safety. For example, both the outside and inside of plugs will be checked, and all appliances will be visually inspected for any obvious signs of damage. Believe it or not, this check is commonly the one that forces many electrical appliances out of use as a health hazard.

Once each appliance has been checked by a certified PAT tester, a label will be attached to the plug, or around the cable close to the plug. This label will contain details of the date that the PAT test was completed, when the next test is due, and details of the company that actually perform the testing. A printout of the passes or fails of all appliances is usually also provided by the company, allowing the health and safety officer of the business to record the information accordingly.

Why PAT Test?

For some, PAT testing may seem like an inconvenient and expensive experience. Having people enter your business year after year, unplugging and inspecting every single item of equipment, from computers to telephones, coffee makers to fax machines, may not be something that you look forward to. PAT testing though is absolutely essential for UK businesses, because it really can reduce the risk of injury within many different workplaces.

Many electrical appliances are subject to strenuous use by many different employees. A gradual fault can develop into a large problem that could cause serious injury. Not only is this bad for business, and for a company’s reputation, but it could also cause lawsuits. As an employer, it is your responsibility to look after the well-being of your staff. PAT testing is usually not an expensive process (unless your organisation boasts a particularly large number of portable appliances), so it is certainly worth keeping on top of.

What Is PAT Testing Mainly Used For?

Typical portable electrical appliances found in a workplace include drills, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, buffing machines, power saws, photocopiers and laptops, to name but a few! Electrical items that are not considered to be portable appliances include such things as ceiling lamps and cookers that are hard-wired into the mains supply.

There’s no legal requirement as such in UK law to PAT test electrical equipment, but it does come under health and safety law, in the form of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. These regulations require all electrical systems, including items of portable electrical equipment, to be maintained so they don’t become dangerous. PAT testing is a way to meet this requirement. There’s no legal timeframe as to when appliances should be tested and at what intervals, but many employers test appliances on an annual basis, or more frequently if they’re exposed to harsh conditions (e.g. used outdoors or in wet, hot or cold environments).

Ultimately, the frequency of testing should be determined by a risk assessment for each item of equipment. Risk assessments are a legal requirement, according to the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. A good risk assessment for a piece of portable equipment must identify the main risks from using the equipment, to spot items at a greater risk of losing their integral safety through damage, misuse or degradation. The risk assessment must also put in place control measures to minimise risk. PAT testing is one example of a control measure to decrease risk. The higher the risks identified in the risk assessment, the more frequently PAT tests should be carried out, along with other control measures to decrease risk.

The actual testing procedure for portable appliances includes a visual inspection, as well as a test using a special PAT testing instrument. The visual test should check the condition of cables and wires, integrity of the casing and the plug. PAT test instruments carry out more detailed checks on equipment. Mains powered PAT testers are used, as well as battery operated testing devices. These are self-contained and easy to use. They perform an earth continuity test, insulation resistance test and a check on the wiring of the mains cord. They can also include tests that power up the appliance so it can be tested when connected to the mains supply. Most testing machines use a straightforward pass or fail result. As well as their pass and fail message, they have different settings for metal and plastic appliances, analysing earth continuity, polarity and insulation resistance.

More advanced PAT testing machines are available and are able to provide more detailed information about the appliance, with more sophisticated testing features. These are mainly aimed at more complex portable appliances with a higher element of risk when used at work. Advanced PAT testing devices display more information than a simple pass or fail message. Their earth continuity resistance test gives a more sophisticated measurement range and can cope with lower test currents, which enables a wider range of appliances to be tested (e.g. computers, which are sensitive to normal PAT testing). They can also carry out insulation resistance tests at voltages of 500 V DC and 250 V DC, earth leakage tests, fuse tests and lead polarity tests.

Of course, all results from a PAT test need to be interpreted by someone who’s competent to do so. Competency is defined in health and safety law as having sufficient knowledge, training, skills and experience to carry out a certain task correctly and safely. Visual inspections can be carried out by the equipment users themselves. Electricians have to pass stringent examinations to qualify for their trade and the readings from an official PAT test need to be interpreted and logged, which is usually best carried out by an electrician or someone who as enough skill and time to get around even the largest of workplaces. PAT testing makes up an important part of facilities management because it can record the location and safety status of portable electrical equipment. Most large employers contract out their PAT testing to an electrical contractor on an annual basis, to a company like Fluke Ireland.

Keep-Fit Qigong Self-Massage for Health Improvement

Patting is a straightforward form of Chinese Massage Therapy for keep-fit enthusiasts falling into the category of External (Wei Dan) Qigong. Its effects can be somewhat more profound than simple skin rubbing approaches in the treatment of underlying conditions. Patting helps to strengthen the bones and tendons, encourages the development of muscle-tissue, lubricates joints, enhances the circulation of the blood and improves the metabolic functions. Patting, when applied to the torso, can improve the functions of the internal organs.

The exercises involve oneself only and the participatory activity thus generated leads to patting being considered superior to and more effective than ‘passive massage’ (i.e. massage which is performed upon you by third parties). After such exercises the body feels ‘lighter’ and more comfortable and the consciousness feels clearer. For more advanced or ‘serious’ patting enthusiasts a number of simple technical aids exist including sand and rice-bags.

Sample Patting Exercises

These can be performed with the palm, bottom of the fist or the simple equipment mentioned above. The exercises can be performed both walking and standing by assuming the following body positions.

1. Patting the Head

Drop your shoulders and elbows and smile. With your left palm pat the left-top of your head from front to rear 50 times then repeat the exercise 50 times with your right palm on the right-top similarly. Next do the same to the right and left sides of your head, keeping your mind calm and your breathing natural throughout.

Regular practice prevents and treats dizziness, headaches and deficiencies in blood supply to this area.

2. Patting the Arms

Using the same starting instructions pat each of the four sides of the left arm with the right palm from top-to-bottom 25 times in sequences of 5×5 to make 100 ‘pats’ in all before repeating the same sequence with the left palm on the right arm.

Regular practice prevents and treats poor muscle-growth of the upper arm, cyanosis of the lower arm and partial paralysis of the arm.

3. Patting the Legs

Standing erect, raise the left leg until it is at right angles to the right leg, using a chair, rail, fence, table or other convenient object for this purpose. Pat the leg on all four sides from thigh to foot in similar 5×5 sequences as outlined in 2 (above) then repeat the exercise with the other leg. When patting in sequences go from light to heavy within each round.

Regular practice prevents and treats numbness and lack of feeling in the lower limbs, maldevelopment of the leg muscles (and their paralysis and partial paralysis) and can help remedy certain walking difficulties (1).

Notes

(1) See ‘Keep Fit the Chinese Way’ by Hu Bin, Foreign Languages Press Beijing, for more detailed instructions.

Peter Allsop M.Ed., Shaolin Kung Fu and Qigong Teacher in Sheffield U.K. is a Senior Student of Grandmaster Yap Leong and Area Coach for his HYL (Health, Youth and Longevity) Energiser Qigong Programme. Iron Shirt and Longevity Training, 5 Elements Qigong are amongst the many Chinese Health and Fitness strategies that really work.

PAT Testing in Offices

Electrical appliances start off perfectly safe, but with use can deteriorate to an extent where there is a risk of an electric shock or a fire. Just as regular MOT checks ensure the safety of cars on the road, Portable Appliance Testing (or PAT to use the popular acronym) ensures that electrical appliances continue to be safe to use.

At first sight, PAT Testing looks quite technical and expensive, and as a result many companies either contract out this aspect of Health & Safety or ignore it altogether. However, a proper understanding of the requirements can lead to a safer workplace.

If testing is carried out “in-house”, a substantial saving in cost can be realised. This article aims to provide the reader with an understanding of PAT Testing and the background to it.

Introduction

Portable appliance testing, or PAT Testing seems to have an aura of the “black arts” about it. As a result a lot of companies either ignore it altogether or sub-contract this aspect of Health & Safety implementation. However, a proper understanding of the requirements can lead to a safer workplace, and if in-house testing is carried out a substantial saving in cost. This article aims to provide the reader with a full understanding of PAT Testing and the background to it.

Design of electrical appliances

If appliances that use mains electricity should develop a fault the consequences to the user can be lethal. In the design of electrical appliances steps are taken to prevent this. It is always possible for appliances to become faulty. However, the design precautions taken are such that a single fault will not result in any danger to the user.

On appliances that have large areas of exposed metal, say a PC or an electric fire, this metal is connected to the Earth pin of the mains plug. The idea is that if high voltages should develop within the PC due to a single fault, this cannot reach the user, as the whole unit is enclosed in a “safe” earthed case. This type of protections is known as Class I.

The other way of providing protection is by the use of two separate layers of insulation. If a single fault resulted in the first layer of insulation being breached, then the second layer of protection is still available. This method is used in handheld appliances such as drills and hair dryers and is generally know as Class II.

Class II appliances are inherently safe and require less frequent testing. They are always indicated by the “double box” symbol.

PAT Testing Regulations

The European Low Voltage Directive governs the manufacture or importation of electrical appliances. Compliance to this has to be declared and indicated by the display of the CE mark on the product. The responsibility for this lies with the manufacturer or the importer and is policed by the Trading Standards.

However, like cars, it is important to have a maintenance regime for electrical appliances. The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) requires that electrical appliances be maintained so that they remain safe during use. The implementation of this is up to employers. The HSE or the local authority is responsible for the policing of this.

Planning your PAT Testing

The first step is to make an inventory of all the electrical appliances. For every item, one needs to work out the frequency of the maintenance checks, based on the method of protection (i.e. Class I or II), the degree of portability and the environment it is used in.

For example appliances that are handheld whilst in use, such as hair-dryers need to be inspected more frequently than a PC monitor that is moved rarely. An electric fire in a factory needs to be inspected more frequently than one used in an office.

It is essential to prepare a Test Record for each appliance. As the maintenance program is carried out, results and comments can be recorded here. This can be invaluable evidence if there is an incident concerning an appliance and a compensation claim is made.

On completing the maintenance, the appliance has to be labelled. This has to indicate the date that testing has taken place and the date after which the appliance should not be used. Equipment that fails should be removed from use and marked appropriately.

Implementation

Having looked at the regulations and spent some time planning, we need to develop a method of maintaining the appliances. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) recommends three levels of maintenance actions.

User checks

Users need to be encouraged to look critically for signs of possible hazard every time they use electrical equipment. This can be done easily by making everyone aware of what is considered to be bad practice. A poster is one way of doing this. It is also good practice to introduce this as part of the induction process for new staff or at regular staff meetings.

Formal Visual Inspections

This is carried out at pre-determined intervals. It is quite straightforward and consists of visually inspecting the power cable, appliance and plug for any obvious problems and the results recorded. At this stage, it is important to open the plug and check that the wiring is sound. According to the HSE, this stage can result in more than 90% of potential problems being spotted. Some examples of faults that may be observed are shown below.

Combined Inspection and PAT Testing

This again is carried out at pre-determined intervals. For the checking of electrical safety, one will require a PAT Tester. There are many PAT Testers available but the ones with pass/fail indications are quite easy to use. All one has to do is plug the appliance into the tester, connect a test lead and press a button. The tester will carry out the required tests and indicate whether the appliance is safe or not.

In addition to the scheduled periods, testing needs to be carried out if there is reason to suspect that equipment may be faulty, and after repairs or any modification has been carried out.

PAT Testing in-house: Cost savings

If an establishment had 400 electrical items, this would result in an annual cost of about £1000 if this were to be contracted out. However, purchasing a PAT Tester for about £200 and having a firm understanding of the requirements, a comprehensive in-house safety strategy can be put in place. This will result in immediate savings. The option of renting a suitable PAT Tester costing about £75 a month, allows further cost savings.