Phi Sigma Calibration carries out comprehensive PAT testing for electrical appliances using the Fluke PAT Tester. We ensure that our reference instruments is properly functioning before we test your electrical appliances.
What is PAT (Portable Appliance Testing)?
PAT is the term used to describe the visual examination and electrical testing of portable electrical equipment or appliances used in industrial, commercial or public access areas to ensure they are safe to use. The formal term for the process is “in-service inspection & testing of electrical equipment. Most electrical safety defects can be found by visual examination but some types of defect can only be found by testing. However, it is essential to understand that visual examination is essential part of the process because some types of electrical safety defect can’t be detected by testing alone. In addition to protecting personnel, regular safety checks of electrical equipment tend to increase the operational life of that equipment.
A portable appliance tester (PAT) allows the operator to make a number of safety tess with a single instruments, including:
- Earth Bond and Continuity Tests – To verify the integrity of exposed metalwork on grounded appliances.
- Insulation Test – To check that equipment conductors are isolated from earth.
- Touch current Test – To check that the equipment case and all exposed metal parts are isolated from earth/ground.
- Differential Leakage Test – To measure the difference in current between live and neutral conductor during operation.
- Substitute/Alternative Leakage Test – To check that the equipment case and all exposed metal parts are isolated from earth/ground, by use of a safe test voltages as an added protection against seriously faulted test items.
- Functional Load Test – An operational test to ensure the asset works as it should without drawing excessive current from the supply.
Why PAT is done?
The keyword is liability. An employer or manufacturer should show as much concern about safety as does the legal system. The liability is with the employer or owner of a place of business, or public place, to ensure that all electrical equipment accessible by employees or the public is maintained in a safe condition.
There are a number of reasons why appliances should be PAT tested on a regular basis, but we feel the most important ones are:
- To comply with the electricity work regulations.
- To comply with the provision and use of work equipment regulations.
- To minimize the risk of the fire and injury caused by electrical appliances.
- To satisfy your insurance company.
- To comply with all Health & Safety requirements and ISO standards.
- Quality assurances also requires you to comply.
Also, one of the first things Fire Officers and Health & Safety Inspectors usually ask to see on any inspection visit is PAT testing records.
What needs to be PAT tested?
If you have any appliances that has a plug that is intended to be connected to a wall socket or generator, it qualifies as needing to be PAT tested.
This can include items such as electric drills, monitors, printers, PCs, kettles and larger items like photocopiers, vending machines and others. So a cordless power tool would not need to be PAT tested but their battery chargers that plug into the wall for power do need to be tested. You should note that there are larger items that seem stationary but still require PAT testing. For instance, a heated towel rail or built-in dishwasher may seem like a fixed appliance but for testing purposes, they still qualify as portable because they plug into the power sources.
All IT equipment should be tested, including power cords to this equipment although they are required to be tested separately from the equipment that they power, because they are held to a different standard.
Frequency of PAT Testing
In order to determine how often you should have your appliances tested, you should bear in mind a few different factors:
- Equipment that is used more should be tested more frequently. This equipment is likely to suffer less damage than that used regularly.
- If people using equipment report any damages as they become noticeable, there is less chance of a major hazard. If equipment regularly receives damage or abuse that is not reported then inspections and testing are required more frequently.
- The type of equipment in question is a major factor in determining PAT testing frequency. Hand held appliances are more likely to become damaged than those are stationary. Class 1 appliances carry the greatest risk of danger and should be tested more often.
What is PAT test certificate, and Why is it important?
Typically once a PAT test has been carried out on an appliance, a sticker will be placed on its surface to show it has been tested. To supplement this it is important to have a certificate showing the details of testing. These may vary from a simple hand written note to a personalized printed certificate.
The minimum details any PAT testing certificate should contain are:
- The details of the site that has been tested
- Any entry for each appliance along with whether it has passed or failed
- Individual re-test dates
- The details of the person or company that performed the test.