Every workplace, from an office to a factory, or a shop or kitchen, is home to many electrical appliances. Have a quick look around you now and you will certainly see a number of them wherever you are.
Your computer, for example, and its printer and other peripherals, requires an electrical connection. Your phone charger, heater, lamp and other items do too. In a kitchen, you might have an oven, kettle or other appliances, and you may use tills that are electrically powered.
Health and Safety Regulations in the UK and Ireland require that all such equipment be tested for safety and correct operation, and there are many different areas that may need to be checked depending on the type of equipment. This is known as Portable Appliance Testing, or PAT.
PAT testing involves checking the likes of cables for damage, electrical surfaces for earthing, and voltage and other areas that could be problematic, using a special device that will give a yes or no answer. The item is then labelled and dated, and records carefully filed in case of inspection.
Who Does PAT Testing?
It may come as a surprise that there is no requirement for a qualification for PAT testers in the UK and Ireland. However, this is because in most instances the test will be simple. The law states that a ‘competent’ person is adequate for the job.If you are dealing with significant electricity however, than arc flash protection is a must.
PAT testing begins with simple visual checks for damage, and can extend to more complex tests for voltage and other areas of concern, but basically you need someone sensible and who has an understanding of what is required.
There are qualifications you can put your employees through – and if you have a business with a lot of electrical equipment it is recommended that you choose this path – in order to gain them a certificate in PAT testing competency, so it is worth investigating these.
You also need to decide upon the type of PAT tester device you need to buy, as there are many different possible options.
Which PAT Tester?
There are many different PAT testing devices, from a variety of manufacturers to choose from, and to decide which one is right for you, you need to consider some or all of the following points:
- How many appliances will you be testing?
- What sort of appliances are they – simple or complex?
- Are you perhaps setting up in business as a PAT Tester?
- Which voltages do you need to test: 110v, 230v, or 400v?
- What conditions will you be working in, and do you need a heavy-duty PAT tester?
- Are you keeping paper records, or do you need a tester that can download to digital?
- Do you want battery or mains powered PAT testers?
These are just a few of the factors that might influence your decision, and you also need to consider the merits of the supplier. Be sure to choose one with a good after-sales reputation.
You might also want to look at the range of PAT testing kits; in addition to your PAT tester, with a kit you may also get a barcode scanner and printer, and the software that you need to carry out all the tasks you need to perform.
The simplest PAT testers offer you a light system in which they flash green for pass and red for fail, while there are others that offer you a wider range of tests in one device. Check out the many different models on the market right now, and you will find a PAT tester that is right for you.