April 13, 2024

Business Bib

Business & Finance Blog

What are PAT Testers Used For?

3 min read

When you own a business or company that uses potable electrical equipment, then you have a duty of care towards your employees and members of the public, in ensuring that all electrical equipment is safe to use. Failure to do so can result in harm and even death. It is a health and safety requirement that all electrical equipment is deemed to be safe, and all electrical equipment has to conform to the British Standard Code of Practice, as well as European electrical product standards. One way in which to ensure this safety is via PAT testing.

What is a PAT tester?

PAT testing refers to the term Portable Appliance Testing which is when portable electrical equipment and appliances are thoroughly checked and examined to ensure that they are working safety. This safety check includes an initial visual assessment, which is then followed by a thorough examination using the PAT tester. PAT testers range from the most basic device, right up to a professional range of machines. Basic PAT devices are obviously much cheaper than complex testers. What model is required very much depends on how often you need to test your equipment, the range of electrical equipment that you have, and if more detailed reports are needed.

Pass/fail testers This type of PAT tester is the most basic and will give the user a pass or fail answer once the device has been tested. The results will either show as a green or red light, or the words PASS or FAIL, will appear on screen. They are incredibly simple to use, requite little skill or knowledge and are obviously the cheapest. They will give you the reassurance that a device is safe to use, as well as checking for issues with polarity, insulation resistance and earth continuity.

Advanced testers This type of PAT tester gives an advanced reading and will check for a wade range of issues including: earth resistance testing, insulation resistance, earth leakage tests and lead polarity. The important thing to note when using this type of PAT tester, is that the results need to be interpreted by a professional electrician and someone who is fully trained in PAT testing.

The visual checks

Firstly, the equipment should be used for the job in which it is intended. The following visual checks should then be done prior to the PAT test.

  • Visual signs of damage, including water stains, burns marks or signs of overheating.
  • The plug is fitted with the correct fuse
  • All of the wiring is correct.
  • The cord grip is fitted correctly.

What equipment is tested?

All portable electric appliances and equipment should be tested. This includes equipment that can easily moved such as:

  • vacuum cleaners
  • kettles
  • portable heaters
  • floor polishers
  • desk lamps
  • small televisions
  • fans
  • radios
  • PC projectors
  • irons
  • kitchen equipment such as toasters and food mixers,

PAT testing also covers those electrical items that are not usually moved, but which can be moved such as:

  • water chillers
  • microwaves
  • fridges
  • vending machines
  • photocopiers
  • washing machines
  • fax machines
  • electric cookers
  • desktop computers

What tests are performed by a PAT tester?

There are a range of electrical tests that are carried out by using a PAT testing device.

  • Earth bond test
  • Insulation test
  • Leakage/touch current test
  • Cable and extension lead tests.

Who should conduct a PAT test?

Ideally when your electrical equipment needs to be PAT tested, you should hire a professional PAT tester to do the job for you. Trained PAT testers are usually electricians or engineers who have passed an accredited PAT testing course, and who have the required accreditation to carry out this type of electrical testing. Using a trained professional will ensue that your electrical equipment is checked properly and you will be give certificates to prove that they have been tested. PAT testing conducted by a trained individual ensures the safety of both employees and the public.