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HSE Information Pages for Offices

HSE have updated a section of their website to include information on office safety.

Primarily for use by employers and employees in businesses, the site details information on health and safety issues in the workplace. However, we feel that the information in this section is so useful that it can be used by PAT technicians to help their own clients and customers stay safe at work.

Guidance has been intentionally streamlined to be understandable to non electrical professionals and should help anyone who finds the process confusing.

Through encouraging your clients to seek out the website and find the information they need, or even creating a report yourself using the HSE site as inspiration, you can actively help your business clients come back to you for repeat custom.

The site boasts an office risk assessment tool and a health and safety toolbox alongside information on PAT testing.

PAT technicians can even use the site to keep up with current trends and reports. Take a look now at

Written by Sara Thomson

IET Code of Practice Update

The Code of Practice for PAT testing from the IET has been updated and is now in its fourth edition.

The IET update their code publications to ensure that regulation guidelines are followed, to help businesses understand their obligations with regards PAT testing, and to help PAT testing engineers carry out PAT procedures effectively within the Code of Practice Guidelines

The new updated version of this publication allows anyone who has responsibility for electrical appliances in a workplace to be able to clearly identify the level of testing needed for the appliances in their work environment.

Taking the approach of ‘proportionate risk’, things like the usage, type and environment of an appliance are considered when deciding how often PAT tests need to be carried out.

These updates to the Code of Practice have come about because of the recommendations set out in the Lofstedt Report into health and safety legislation in November 2011.

These updates should encourage clarity and ensure that PAT tests aren’t carried out too often or too little.

What’s your opinion of these updates?

Written by Sara Thomson

Misused Appliances Causing Fires

Research by the electrical safety council has found that a rise in fires in the home is being caused by electrical appliances being misused and in fact, this misuse of appliances is the biggest cause of fires in the home in the UK.

It seems that people are committing serious safety risks without realising the danger.

Amongst the mistakes being made, the following are the most common:

    • Using microwaves as a surface and blocking air vents.
    • Leaving tumble dryers on unattended and overnight.
    • Blocking air vents on fridge freezers through a lack of cleaning behind
    • Overloading extension and adaptor leads causing high temperatures
    • Leaving electrical equipment on unattended and then smelling burning from the appliance

ESC reported that three quarters of adults have committed one of the above mistakes and believe that this high number is due to a serious lack of understanding of the danger they are actually in when committing one of these mistakes.

House fires in the UK have actually decreased overall, but fires which are caused by the misuse of appliances has actually risen by more than a third between 2009 and the present. This type of fire actually kills 22 people every year and seriously injures 2,500.

To help tackle the issue the ESC have come up with a Fire Blunders game on Facebook which aims to identify mistakes and improve safety. Plus, they have also created a free, downloadable app called the Home Electrical Safety Check where people can check their homes for safety.

Help the ESC with their campaign, make your clients aware of the electrical safety mistakes they could be making without realising they are actually putting themselves in danger.

Written by Sara Thomson

Garage Prosecuted after Putting Workers at Risk

A garage in Barking has been prosecuted because it allowed workers to use unsafe electrical equipment to carry out repairs on cars.

The prosecution occurred after the garage owner was told to stop using a two-post vehicle hoist until repairs were made to exposed live cables and terminals.

However, it was discovered four months later that workers at the garage had not been told to stop using the equipment and were at great risk of electrocution as the equipment was still being used.

The garage owners pleaded guilty to breaking the Health and Safety at Work law and were given a fine of £4000 and £2000 in costs.

HSE maintain that it is very lucky that no one was seriously hurt or even killed and said that equipment which has been banned from use is banned for extremely good reasons.

This story resulted in no one actually getting hurt but it could have been a very different story and one which hopefully will make business owners realise the importance of following the law.

Written by Sara Thomson

Professional PAT Testing Standards Association

Moves to create a professional standards group for PAT testing has come to fruition recently with the setting up of BAPAT, The British Association of Portable Appliance Testers.

The idea came from a group of independent PAT companies and some individuals who wanted to create an agency that represents professional standards and good practice in the inspection and testing of portable appliances.

Working alongside the Health and Safety Executive and the Institute of Engineering and Technology the association is aiming to raise awareness through the Government and Local Authorities to ensure that all PAT engineers are providing and carrying out work to the highest possible standards.

The association wants to ultimately achieve a kind of endorsement of quality through its members and to ensure that people are aware that they stand for quality testing and procedures.

After a little research on this new association it’s obvious that it’s a very new company which at the moment is being run by volunteers. As far as standards go, it has a long way to go before it reaches the heights which some other industry standard associations have achieved in other sectors. However, the concept of a quality standards association can only be a good thing.

What do you think of the decision to create a standards group for PAT testing?

Written by Sara Thomson

Help Farmers Stay Safe with Electrical Equipment

With the recent news that farms are still experiencing a high number of electrical accidents and deaths each year, we’re looking at things which PAT Technicians can teach Farmers about staying safe with electrical equipment. So we’ve come up with a list of things you can discuss with your client to help them stay safe with their electrical equipment.

  • Operate tools used outside or where there is earthed metalwork at a reduced voltage from a safety isolating transformer, or connect via an RCD
  • Use electrical plugs which are good quality and suitable for dust and wet environments
  • Check and inspect wiring and tools
  • Remove and don’t use faulty equipment
  • Regularly test RCD’s
  • Unplug appliances before cleaning
  • Ensure that there are an appropriate amount of plug sockets to ensure that extension cable use is minimised
  • Ensure that all equipment is tested and safe for use through a PAT test.

By providing your Farmer clients with a guide to ensure they remain safe, we can help reduce accidents and deaths from electricity on farm land.

Written by Sara Thomson

Encouraging Safety, Dispelling Ignorance

We are sometimes asked about appliances which are owned by workers and whether employers need to ensure they are PAT tested prior to allowing them free use in the workplace.

This is an interesting question and is one that many business owners find difficult to answer either way. They are unsure whether they themselves are responsible for the appliances which are brought in by workers and if these items fall under their responsibility whilst on business premises.

In fact, all employers should ensure that any items brought to their premises by workers are safe for use and won’t endanger people in the building. By performing a PAT test on these items, employers can be certain that employee owned appliances are safe for use at work.

However, many employers remain ignorant of this, and assume that as the appliances don’t belong to the workplace or building, they don’t have to consider their safety.

If, when you are taking on contracts, you ensure that employers are aware of this and advise them how they can inform their staff of best practices, they can then proceed to be vigilant and ensure that no one is able to use an unsafe appliance and put the whole building at risk during office hours.

If you remain helpful and continue to provide good information and reassurance, you will, not only be helping businesses stay safe, but encouraging a good working relationship for yourself and the business owner, which may encourage future PAT contracts with them.

Written by Sara Thomson

NICEIC ‘Jobs for the Girls’ What do you Think?

The NICEIC campaign ‘Jobs for the Girls’ was launched to encourage more women into the electrical industry and to remove the stereotype that it is a ‘man’s job’.

Electrical careers have long been dominated by men and are often still thought to be a solely male profession. However, research has revealed that many women living alone would be wary of calling in a male electrician and would prefer to have the option of calling on a female electrician.

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Why the PAT Training DVD?

The good thing about the PAT training DVD is that once you have worked through the sections, you can take the online exam which will test your competence in PAT testing. If you pass the exam, you will be a ‘Competent Person’ able to carry out pat testing procedures.

The DVD training course is based on the IET guidelines for in-service inspection and testing and the City and Guilds examinations, and has been endorsed by NAPIT as a good method of learning PAT testing skills.

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Have you Promoted Electrical Fire Safety Week?

The national Electrical Fire Safety Week has been underway across the UK this week.

This initiative, which sees the ESC, the Fire and Rescue Service and the Government ‘Fire Kills’ campaign come together for mutual benefit, has been promoting electrical safety and raising awareness of fire risks throughout the week.

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