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What needs to be maintained?

What exactly needs to be maintained under the scope of PAT testing? Which items should you check over for damage, and who is responsible for making sure that they work correctly?

Well, quite simply:

Any electrical equipment that is in an installation (whether permanently connected or not by plug and to a socket outlet) should be inspected and tested to be in accordance with the regulations set by governing bodies.

But what exactly deems a piece of electrical equipment as ‘portable?’

In the IET code of practice, they define a portable appliance as:

“An appliance of not more than 18kg in mass that is intended to be moved while in operation or an appliance that can easily be moved from one place to another, e.g. toaster, food mixer, kettle”.

A portable appliance therefore is generally the common day to day items you might see in an office. Everything from microwaves to computer monitors should be tested using PAT testing, and it is important that nothing is glossed over in the test and each and every appliance within an environment that is ‘portable’ is checked over thoroughly.

Who Is Responsible for PAT testing?

Technically, anyone who is going to use, or those around portable appliances have a duty of care to ensure the equipment they’re working with is in satisfactory condition.

This doesn’t mean they should be responsible for carrying out the PAT testing itself, but rather refers to the users and people around it regularly making sure that electrical equipment isn’t obviously damaged, and flagging damaged goods up with management as soon as they are found.

In the IET code of practice, they define the people responsible for electrical equipment maintenance as:

  • The actual user of the electrical equipment
  • Administrators with responsibility for electrical maintenance (even those without detailed technical knowledge)
  • The ‘competent person’ carrying out the formal visual inspection and the inspections and tests
  • Other dutyholders such as company directors, managers or building services managers

Written by Barry Atkins