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PAT Testing -  Legal Requirements

If you do have a visit from your local Fire & Rescue Authority, one of the things they will strongly advise you to do is to have your electrical appliances safety tested where appropriate, to reduce/eliminate ignition sources.

Electrical appliances start their life perfectly safe, but with use can deteriorate to an extent where there is a risk of an electric shock or a fire. Its like having an annual MOT check on your car, which ensures your car is safe to use on the road, Portable Appliance Testing (or PAT Testing which it is more commonly known) ensures that electrical appliances continue to be safe to use.

The laws and regulations that are particularly relevant to electrical maintenance of systems at work are:-

■ Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

■ Management of Health Safety at Work Regulations 1999

■ Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

■ Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

Current legislation demands that employers ensure portable appliances are safe. Here is a selection of some of the relevant regulations.

Electricity At Work Act 1989 

To meet the requirements of the 1989 electricity at work regulations, it is widely regarded to be necessary to implement a programme of planned inspection and testing of portable appliances, as may be necessary to prevent danger. All systems shall be maintained so as to prevent so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger.

Provisions & Use Of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

 Every employer shall ensure that the result of an inspection made under this regulation is recorded and kept until the next inspection under this regulation is recorded.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 requires that all mains electrical equipment (such as cookers, washing machines, kettles, all hand tools etc), new or second-hand, supplied with rented accommodation or used in your business must be safe. Landlords therefore need to regularly maintain the electrical equipment they supply to ensure it is safe.

For Landlords, it is strongly advisable to have any electrical equipment checked before the start of each let. It would be good practice to have the equipment checked at regular intervals thereafter. You should obtain and retain test reports detailing the equipment, the tests carried out and the results.

The intention of the legislation

It is clear that the intent of the legislation, either singly, or in combination is to apply to all electrical equipment used in, or associated with, places of work to protect the worker, and the public where they may use appliances in establishments such as hospitals, schools, hotels, shops etc.

It covers all electrical equipment from distribution systems down to the smallest piece of electrical equipment.

It imposes on employers a clear requirement to inspect and test all types of electrical equipment in all work situations.

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