PAT testing is a routine inspection of some types of electrical appliances to ensure that they are safe for continued use. Its purpose is to prevent electrical accidents in the workplace. A full PAT test should include both visual inspection and detailed checks using specialist PAT testing equipment. These tests include continuity, polarity and insulation resistance checks. There are 7 categories of appliances which should be considered for PAT testing or visual inspections, including Fixed, Stationary, IT, Moveable, Portable and Handheld appliances, as well as cables and chargers.
PAT testing itself is not a legal obligation. However, UK legislation (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Electricity at Work Regulation 1989) states that businesses and commercial properties must maintain electrical equipment to be in a safe condition. In addition, businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of employees and the public. PAT testing is one of the most efficient methods to ensure that you are meeting these responsibilities.
There are no specific rules regarding the frequency of PAT testing. However, there are three main criteria which can be used to help determine the frequency of testing needed for you or your business - the risk level, the class of appliance and category of appliance. In addition, it is also relevant to consider manufacturer recommendations, age of equipment, frequency of use and the history of the appliance.