Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

Electrical appliances naturally deteriorate over time and may become damaged or faulty.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is carried out on electrical appliances to ensure they are safe to use.

A portable appliance is any electrical equipment that can be plugged in, or uses electricity provided by the electrical system (known as the "electrical installation"). This includes PCs, toasters, fans, extension leads, televisions, etc.

Why do you need PAT testing?

The main reasons behind a PAT test are:

  • Minimise the risk of fire
  • Minimise the risk of injury or death from electric shocks
  • Provide evidence, in the form of a testing certificate, to prove you have taken necessary precautions
  • Satisfy the law, your insurance company, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities that you are taking reasonable safety precautions

Some insurance companies make it a condition of their policies that electrical appliances are tested annually. Even if the policy doesn't explicitly require a PAT test, there is a risk that an insurance company may not pay out if the cause of a claim turned out to be a faulty appliance that had not been tested. Be aware that insurance companies expect you to comply with your legal safety responsibilities so they might not explicitly state in your policy that you need to test your electrical appliances.

It is important to have a system of regular inspection and testing to demonstrate that you are taking your electrical safety responsibilities seriously.

Put bluntly, regular PAT testing helps keep everybody safe, helps protect you from prosecution if something goes wrong, and lessens the chances of your insurance company avoiding paying out.

What are your legal responsibilities?

Whether you are a landlord or business owner, regular PAT testing helps you demonstrate that you are doing everything possible to ensure that your electrical appliances are safe.

As a business owner, PAT testing helps ensure you meet your legal responsibilities as defined in several pieces of legislation, including:

The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. These regulations do not state when or how often tests should be carried out; this is left up to you. However, the longer the gap between tests/inspections, the greater the risk that you will be deemed negligent in the event of a faulty appliance causing a fire or accident.

As a landlord, it is recommended that you make sure appliances are safe before each new tenancy and at regular intervals after that. Again, the regulations do not state specifically when tests should be conducted. However, regular testing will provide you with the legal backup you need in case of an unfortunate accident and insurance claim.

Indeed, some councils, such as Liverpool City Council, now require a valid PAT test certificate by a competent person for a landlord to obtain a HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) license.

So, is PAT testing legally required?

Well, the answer is both no and yes.

No, because there is no law that compels you to have your appliances tested. Yes, because if a faulty appliance causes a fire or injury, in the absence of a recent PAT test, it will be difficult to prove that you complied with the law and increases the risk that you could be found negligent.

How often should a PAT test be carried out?

The recommended interval between tests depends on the nature of the appliances you use. A business that uses heavy duty electrical tools on a daily basis would require more frequent testing than a small office with low risk appliances such as computers and printers.

As a general guideline, PAT testing should be carried out annually. Having your appliances tested regularly provides powerful evidence that you are taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of your employees, customers or tenants.

Who should carry out a PAT test?

PAT testing should be carried out by an electrically competent person, typically an electrical engineer.

How we can help

As qualified, experienced testing specialists and members of the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT), you can be sure we test and inspect your appliances thoroughly.

In addition to carrying out the inspection, testing and certification, we also:

  • Provide a reminder service so your appliance testing is always up to date and you remain compliant
  • Arrange tests at a time to suit you.
  • Provide a backup service - we keep copies of testing records and certificates in case you can't find yours when you need it.

Contact us to discuss your PAT testing needs Call us on 07793 387 287

Alternatively, let us take care of PAT testing and all of your other electrical requirements with a tailored maintenance package.