Portable Appliance Testing & Its FAQs

PAT testing for Landlords

PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) is the process by which a landlord tests all his portable electrical appliances to ensure that they are safe for use. A PAT testing machine is used for carrying out the test, and it is better if a qualified electrical engineer conducts it. 

A portable appliance test certificate is the document given to landlords after the successful testing of appliances. It is proof that the firm conducts safety checks for all its devices regularly and that it is complying with regulations. The Portable appliance test certificate testifies that the firm is maintaining its equipment well and is taking adequate safety measures. The certificate shows you those appliances that have passed the testing and those which have failed.

The following FAQs will clear all doubts regarding PAT testing:

Q. Is PAT testing a legal requirement? 

According to the Electricity at Work Regulations, 1989, all potentially dangerous electrical equipment has to be maintained very well to ensure that it is safe for use. However, there is no mandate legal requirement to undertake the testing of electrical appliances regularly. Testing should be done based on the frequency of use of the device and the purpose for which it is used. Equipment, such as a vacuum cleaner that is used frequently and moved about often, needs to be tested regularly along with visual checks to see if they are working correctly and not potentially harmful.   

Q. Do I have to conduct a PAT testing of my appliances frequently?

The frequency of testing varies as per the equipment that is used and the working environment. For tools, such as those used continuously in construction projects, testing should be done more frequently.

Q. Is it necessary to keep testing records, and are the appliances that are tested to be labelled?

Legally, it is not required for a business owner to maintain records of testing or to label the appliances that have been tested. But, for a landlord, keeping records or labelling can be helpful to analyze whether the equipment is maintained adequately or not.

Q. What details should be present on a portable appliance test certificate?

The portable appliance test certificate should surely contain the following details:

  • Details of each appliance stating whether they have passed or failed the test.
  • Particulars of the site where the testing has taken place.
  • Dates scheduled for any re-testing of appliances.
  • Particulars of the individual or firm who conducted the test. 

Q. If I have new appliances, do they need to be tested?

All new appliances supplied to customers should be safe for use. There is no need for a portable appliance testing for new appliances, but conducting a simple visual checking is enough to ensure that the equipment is safe.

Q. Who can conduct a portable appliance testing?

In low-risk environments, a person with the required skill and knowledge can conduct a visual inspection of appliances. But in high-risk situations involving potentially dangerous tools, and where high-quality testing is needed, a qualified electrical engineer should carry the testing. Such a competent person should possess the best equipment to conduct the inspection, and he should have the skill to make proper use of such equipment. He should also be able to understand the testing results correctly. A qualified person will be able to conduct the testing in lesser time.

Q. I supply portable equipment for hire. What are my responsibilities, and what is the responsibility of the person to whom I provide?

Whenever you supply equipment, you have to ensure that it is safe to use by testing and inspecting it properly. The person to whom you hire has the responsibility to maintain the appliance well during his period of use.

Q. What is the cost of PAT testing for landlords?

The cost of PAT testing for landlords depends on the types and number of appliances to be tested. But generally, a PAT testing company will charge around 1 pound to 2 pounds per appliance. If there are various equipment to be tested, the cost will be lesser. Each firm may have a different system of pricing. While some firms may charge less than 1 pound per appliance for testing a certain bulk number of appliances, a few companies may charge more per device, if they provide additional services apart from testing, such as rewiring, part replacements, etc.

All business owners and landlords should conduct portable appliance testing of all their equipment regularly and acquire a portable test certificate. It will ensure that the appliances they have are running efficiently, and they do not cause any physical harm to people using them. The certificate is also useful while making insurance claims to show that you have been complying with safety regulations.     

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