For advice &
booking call
01642 987554
8:30am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday

Work Environments and PAT Testing Frequency

How often do you need to carry out PAT testing? Some places will tell you it’s every year no matter where you are, but we’ve got some advice for you.

This isn’t necessarily true.

PAT testing must be carried out regularly, but the frequency that the testing is done depends on two factors:

  • The risk level of the environment
  • Who will be interacting with the equipment (E.g. The general public/employees)

This is because in more dangerous environments, or public areas, equipment is more likely to be accidentally damaged and become a serious hazard. Office environments, for example, are much less risky than a construction site where hand-held, potentially dangerous equipment is used on a daily basis.

We can easily break down the different potential PAT testing environments and their risks into five distinct categories:

Offices (Considered low risk)

These environments are considered to be low risk because portable appliances in the office environment are rarely moved, and therefore less likely to be damaged.

In well-run offices, employees are reminded of the importance of checking over their equipment and as such, regular visual inspections are ideal for making sure that the portable appliances employees use regularly are safe for use.

PAT testing must be still be carried out at regular fixed intervals, but the time between tests is much longer than it would be in dangerous environments.

Schools (Slightly Higher Risk)

School kids aren’t known for their attention and care of appliances, and because there’s a whole load of them using the appliances on a regular basis, the chance of damage to that appliance is increased dramatically.

As such, PAT testing in schools must be completed much more frequently as the dangers and legal ramifications of exposing children to faulty appliances could be extreme.

Equipment That Will Be Used By the Public (Medium Risk)

If you’re the owner of any type of environment that is open to the public, you’re liable to make sure that any appliances they use are safe for use.

Such examples would include electrical training machines at gyms, and arcade game machines in bowling alleys or pubs. These kinds of appliances must be constantly maintained to make sure they aren’t a danger to the public, and regular PAT testing is a great way to ensure you’re doing the right thing.

Industrial (High Risk Factor)

This part of the risk assessment covers factories, workshops and commercial kitchens.

In these environments people are often working on a tight schedule and interacting regularly with a wide variety of different appliances. As a result of this appliances are often damaged much more regularly, which in turn means the PAT testing procedure must be carried out more often as well.

Construction Sites (Extremely High Risk)

Construction sites are so dangerous, equipment is often only capable of working with 110V, meaning there’s a drastically smaller chance of dangerous electrical shock.

The harsh environment of construction sites, the dust in the air and the general wear and tear placed on appliances can damage them significantly, so PAT testing in these environments must be completed much more frequently than in other environments.

Frequency of Testing

How often do things need to be tested exactly? The following tables are sourced from the IET Code of Practice and should give you a clear idea of how often you should be performing PAT testing.

Offices, Shops, Hotels and Nursing Homes

Type of Equipment Formal Visual Inspections Combined Inspection and Testing Formal Visual Inspections Combined Inspection and Testing
Class I Class II
Stationary Every 2 years Every 4 years Every 2 years None
IT Every 2 years Every 4 years Every 2 years None
Moveable Every Year Every 2 years Every 2 years None
Portable Every Year Every 2 years Every 2 years None
Handheld Every 6 Months Every year Every 6 Months None

Schools

Type of Equipment Formal Visual Inspections Combined Inspection and Testing Formal Visual Inspections Combined Inspection and Testing
Class I Class II
Stationary None Every Year Every Year Every 4 Years
IT None Every Year Every Year Every 4 Years
Moveable Every Term Every Year Every Term Every 4 Years
Portable Every Term Every Year Every Term Every 4 Years
Handheld Every Term Every Year Every Term Every 4 Years

Equipment Used By the Public

Type of Equipment Formal Visual Inspections Combined Inspection and Testing Formal Visual Inspections Combined Inspection and Testing
Class I Class II
Stationary Every Month Every Year Every 3 months Every Year
IT Every Month Every Year Every 3 months Every Year
Moveable Every Week Every 6 months Every Month Every Year
Portable Every Week Every 6 months Every Month Every Year
Handheld Every Week Every 6 months Every Month Every Year

Factories, Workshops and Commercial Kitchens

Type of Equipment Formal Visual Inspections Combined Inspection and Testing Formal Visual Inspections Combined Inspection and Testing
Class I Class II
Stationary None Every Year None Every Year
IT None Every Year None Every Year
Moveable Every Month Every Year Every 3 Months Every Year
Portable Every Month Every 6 months Every 3 Months Every 6 months
Handheld Every Month Every 6 months Every 3 Months Every 6 months

Construction Sites

Type of Equipment Formal Visual Inspections Combined Inspection and Testing Formal Visual Inspections Combined Inspection and Testing
Class I Class II
Stationary Every Month Every 3 Months Every Month Every 3 Months
IT Every Month Every 3 Months Every Month Every 3 Months
Moveable Every Month Every 3 Months Every Month Every 3 Months
Portable Every Month Every 3 Months Every Month Every 3 Months
Handheld Every Month Every 3 Months Every Month Every 3 Months

As can be seen, the time between tests varies dramatically depending on the type of test, and the location the testing will be taking place in.

Written by Barry Atkins