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Who Performs the Testing?

Here’s an important question: who actually carries out PAT testing?

As an organisation, there are actually a number of different options available to you. PAT testing, despite public opinion, doesn’t have to be carried out by a qualified electrician. In fact, absolutely anybody who is deemed competent can carry out PAT testing.

Even so, many organisations still prefer to outsource their PAT testing to external companies, as often they don’t have the resources to send employees around the organisation armed with a PAT tester and a bumper roll of stickers.

The Options Available to You

Employ a PAT testing organisation to carry out the work for you.

It may seem like the simpler option in the long run, but outsourcing work to an external company can be pricey.  It’s a great way to get your testing done by qualified professionals, but there are certain things to always look out for when doing this as some companies can try to force PAT testing upon you when it really isn’t needed. Watch out for:

  • Companies claiming that your PAT testing is a yearly requirement. This isn’t true – PAT testing isn’t a legal requirement to start with, but is an option for making sure you adhere to electrical regulations. The amount of time between PAT testing being completed also varies drastically depending on the environment it takes place in – more dangerous areas or those frequented commonly by the public must complete PAT testing more regularly than areas such as offices.
  • Always ensure that the person doing the testing is qualified to carry out the work.
  • Make sure they are actually checking over your equipment – there have been some instances where people simply scan barcodes and deem the appliance safe without actually performing the test
  • Shop around for prices – different firms have different quotations, and given the size of certain jobs the prices soon can stack up dramatically. Don’t however always accept the cheapest quote. Remember the old saying: Pay peanuts, get monkeys !

Carry Out the Work Yourself

As we said previously, PAT testing does not have to be performed by a company. It must be performed by a ‘competent person’ who has adequate knowledge in how to carry out the test procedure and record the results.

This essentially means that carrying out the testing yourself is both cost effective as you don’t have any external fees, and training your staff in how to carry out the procedure will ensure your equipment is maintained between PAT testing procedures as well.

There are a few downsides, however.

  • You must ensure that the person doing the test is deemed competent. The easiest way to do this is to take a PAT training course, which will provide delegates with the opportunity to learn about how PAT testing works.
  • You must buy a PAT testing machine.
  • Your staff may have to step away from their regular jobs to carry out the testing.

Combine Together the Efforts of Your Staff and an External Company

For your large PAT testing procedure, this can be handled by a PAT testing company who will test all of your appliances thoroughly and give you the relevant paperwork and certification to say it has been done.

By using your staff as well, you can perform visual inspections of appliances, as well as designating a person with the organisation who will be responsible for checking over devices an employee may bring in during the period between tests.

These appliances must be tested as well, as they are new to the organisation and could be a hazard if they’re faulty.

Keep a log of the appliances that require testing

Particularly if you’re going to do the testing yourself it is important to make a list of all of the appliances within your organisation so you know exactly what needs testing.

There are countless types of appliance out there, so it’s important you check absolutely everything and determine whether it is one or not.

Written by Barry Atkins