What Is Portable Appliance Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing or as it is more commonly known as PAT testing, involves a process of periodically inspecting and testing of electrical equipment or appliances to ensure they are safe for use.

Firstly all appliances will receive a formal visual inspection to ensure both the flexible cable and the appliance are free from wear and tear, damage, signs of burning, plug tops are also opened to ensure correct wiring, correct fuse rating and again free from damage or signs of overheating.

Providing the appliance successfully passes the formal visual inspection, the appliance will then be subjected to a series of electrical tests depending on its classification; all testing will be performed by a PAT tester with a valid calibration certificate.

Equipment passing both the formal visual inspection and testing will be clearly labelled with a PASS label containing a unique asset number, test date, re-test date and engineer’s initials.

Equipment failing either the formal visual inspection or testing will be clearly labelled with a FAIL label containing a unique asset number, test date, engineer’s initials and reason for failure. The appliance will also be removed from service and reported to your nominated responsible person.

In order to maintain standards all testing performed will be in accordance with the IEE’s code of practice for in-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment 3rd edition.

Why PAT Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing is an effective process of inspecting and testing electrical equipment and maintaining maintenance records to ensure compliance with various legal Acts, Regulations and Insurance requirements.

Health and Safety Legislation

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is required to comply with various legal Acts & Regulations, the legislation that should be consulted are as follows.

  • The Health & Safety Act 1974 (HASAW)
  • The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
  • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
  • The Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
  • The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

Who Is Responsible For Portable Appliance Testing?

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) requires every employer to ensure that work equipment is appropriate for the purpose for which it is provided, only used in the place and under the provisions for which it is provided. It also requires every employer to ensure work equipment be efficiently maintained and kept fit and suitable for its intended purpose. It must not be allowed to deteriorate in function or performance to such a level that it puts people at risk. This means that regular, routine and planned maintenance regimes must be considered if hazardous problems can arise.


Fines for non compliance issued by the Magistrate Court are up to £20,000. The Crown Court can issue an unlimited fine or 2 years imprisonment. A high proportion of fires, injuries and even deaths in the workplace are caused by faulty appliances. The risk assessment must cover all electrical equipment.