PAT Testing Regulations. What Does This Mean to You and Your Business?
PAT Testing, or to be more precise, Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) falls within the employer’s duty of care under The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
This states that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury must be maintained in a safe condition.
The Regulations do not specify what needs to be done or how frequently. Neither is the inspection or testing of electrical appliances a legal requirement as such.
However, the flip side to this is that if an employee is injured or killed through electrocution of a non-maintained, or badly maintained appliance, then the business owner or responsible person will have a very steep uphill battle to prove they have no liability in this incident.
What Does Portable Appliance Testing Consist Of?
2). Earth continuity test
3). Insulation test
What is the Insurance Company View?
Is Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) Compulsory?
This is what the HSE says.
“No. The law simply requires an employer to ensure that their electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger. It does not say how this should be done or how often. Employers should take a risk-based approach, considering the type of equipment and what it is being used for. If it is used regularly and moved a lot e.g. a floor cleaner or a kettle, testing (along with visual checks) can be an important part of an effective maintenance regime giving employers confidence that they are doing what is necessary to help them meet their legal duties. HSE provides guidance on how to maintain equipment including the use of PAT.”
However, treat this as a poison chalice. Although that is what the HSE say, it would be very unwise not to have a regime of inspection in place.
In the unfortunate scenario of having a fire or an accident at work caused by an unsafe appliance, the HSE and potentially the courts will insist on an employer proving they took reasonable care by having a regime of inspection in place. If not then the result is negligence, with all the implications that come with it.
Following on from that is the insurance issue…
Is it really worth it for what is a relatively small cost for peace of mind and workplace safety?