What is PAT testing?
PAT testing is a routine to test different types of electrical appliances, making sure they’re safe to use and avoid potential hazards within the workplace or household.
How does PAT testing work?
Testing includes a visual inspection and specialist PAT test equipment to analyse the problem in depth such as scoping earth continuity, insulation resistance checks and lead polarity.
A PAT insulation test is carried out on appliances with minor problems. Every appliance should be marked ‘passed’ or ‘failed’ at the end of a PAT test. A record of the outcomes should ideally be available.
Meaning of PAT
PAT test stands for portable appliance testing, there are seven categories of portable appliances which should be fully considered for testing or visual inspection to discover the problem.
A PAT test engineer would look for these appliances to analyse the problem at hand:
- Fixed appliances
- Stationery appliances
- IT appliances
- Moveable appliances
- Portable appliances
- Cables and Chargers
- Handheld appliances
Electrical Classes in PAT test
Electrical appliances are split up into different categories as class 1,2 and 3, although class 1 is the most dangerous and class 3 being the least dangerous out of all the classes. An appliance class helps decide whether and to what extent it needs to be checked for PAT. Class 1 appliances need a complete PAT test, Class 2 appliances need a PAT insulation test, and PAT testing is not needed for Class 3 appliances at all.
Down below we will be going through the different class appliances:
Class 1 appliances – the electrical equipment has a basic insulation that relies on an earth for protection.
Class 2 appliances – There is extra insulation for this form of electrical equipment, because it does not rely on earth for protection, which makes it safer.
Class 3 appliances – Class 3 appliances are the safest electrical appliance class and are low-voltage items. There might be a need for PAT checking of their charging leads.
Legal obligation in PAT testing
The UK legislation explains that a business should maintain professional and up to date electrical equipment in good condition. Furthermore, they have mentioned a legal responsibility was put in place to ensure the safety of the employees and public.
Also, PAT test is one of the most effective ways of solving an electrical problem particularly in high risk and large environments which has become the main, standard route of meeting legal obligation.
Additionally, no strict legal provision for PAT testing is currently in effect. However, the government has organised a legislation relating to the maintenance of electrical equipment, and PAT checking is the most efficient way to ensure that these regulations are met.