Ever wondered what PAT testing actually is or involves? Hopefully I can shed some light on what might be a clouded subject and how you can best make sure your electrical equipment is safe. The PAT testing process is a relatively simple task on its own, but much more widely things can become very complicated.
You see the actual PAT testing process is only a small part of the story, we need to consider risk assessments in advance of any PAT testing project. Along with consideration to the times it will be most convenient to have PAT testing performed. We also need to determine what level of skill is required to PAT test your equipment.
Lets start with the risk assessment, you need to have an assessment carried out to determine a few things prior to performing the PAT testing. This assessment can be conducted internally, in fact it is encouraged if you have staff with the knowledge required. We are going to be looking for things like equipment use, construction, environment it is used within and the type of users. Along with consideration to any risks that can develop when equipment is isolated for PAT testing. I am thinking of hospitals and fire monitoring equipment along with access control and server areas. All of these things need to be taken into account. I wont delve to deep into the risk assessment side of things here. But it should be done! It will help determine mainly how often and exactly what equipment you are going to need to be inspected or inspected and tested . Along with identifying risks caused by the PAT testing process and any potential risks to those conducting the testing.
In terms of the skill needed to PAT test it is fairly clear-cut. You need to have some knowledge and experience to safely and properly conduct PAT testing. You need to be able to rely on the results of both your inspections and tests along with knowing how to remain safe whilst carrying out the actual tests. Many hazards are present within even the most low risk office areas when you are often crawling around within them. The risk of electrocution without knowledge and proper use of safe isolation is increased. I have heard of PAT testers getting burnt from hot plugs or live leads on a few occasions due to working within live areas. Always work with the power off unless it is absolutely unavoidable. In the event live work is required then further risk assessments primarily for this task should be undertaken. My view is that those who need to perform and understand results need a level of skill and knowledge beyond everyday office staff. They also need sound experience of safe isolation and the importance of working with all equipment isolated within any given work area. It is quite possible that some members of your team have this knowledge and you might consider it cost-effective to have them carry out the work.
Training and Equipment
When you consider you will probably require some kind of training course and PAT testing equipment the costs can soon mount up and make internal PAT testing for small premises a costly exercise. You can have a professional provider like ourselves conduct the PAT testing process from £39 + VAT so it isn’t an area you will save an awful lot in most cases.
PAT Testing time
Okay so we have our PAT tester or testers and we have a risk assessment, next we need to decide when is best to carry out the actual PAT testing process. In a busy office perhaps it is going to be best overnight or on a weekend. For retail outlets perhaps after the store closes or construction workers maybe first thing in the morning. Every business and every location is unique and you will know when is best to get things done. We work 24/7 even now at 9pm on a Monday evening we have staff working in 2 different offices. We make things as easy as possible for everyone, if we can avoid a headache then let’s do it.
The PAT testing process is I guess the interesting part if you have read this far down my post. Firstly a big part of it is the inspection and this should always be done before the testing. Most common faults are picked up during this stage such as damaged plugs, loose plug terminations, damaged flex leads and casings. We are also looking at the rating of the fuse, signs of corrosion and thermal damage. Checking equipment against known recall lists and making a judgement on the ongoing safety of any particular item of equipment. Once we are happy with the inspection we can proceed to test it.
PAT Testing Process
The PAT test is when the expensive test gear comes into play. What tests are applied will depend on the equipments construction, class 1 or class 2. Along with its use such as IT, construction, workshop etc. Some IT equipment or any equipment controlled via electronic circuits can be damaged if tests are applied at the wrong voltage or test currents. This is another area where professional PAT testers will be able to keep your equipment safe from harm and test it properly. Class 1 equipment is going to need an earth continuity test, this is to test the resistance from the earth pin or connection point to the exposed metal parts of the equipment. We want a very low resistance value to make sure the equipment is adequately earthed in the event a fault occurs so fault current can flow safely back to earth. We do not want fault current going through people or the surrounding area of the equipment. Double insulated class 2 equipment doesn’t have a safety earth instead relying on a 2nd layer of insulation to protect live parts coming into contact with any other parts of an appliance. Usually an insulation resistance test and leakage current or run test will be all that is required on this type of equipment. Again different test processes and values will apply to all kinds of different equipment such as computers, angle grinders, 110V equipment, 3 phase equipment. The variations are too vast to list within this little post but I just want to stress to properly test something and do so in a way that doesn’t cause damage is a difficult process.
I can highly recommend the IET’s code of practice here that will help give much further clarity and explanations than I could provide within this post. The HSE also have some helpful guides available here. If you are considering taking your PAT testing process in-house then both should be on your to do list.
I could give a host of reasons why you should choose Power Sonic Ltd to provide your PAT Testing. Below are a few reasons.
- NAPIT members (National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers)
- Electric Safe registered
- Government Trustmark registered
- Fully insured
- Fully qualified, time served electricians
- Market leading, accurate calibrated test equipment
- Reports generated in digital format
- Honest assessment of your potential new home
We are fully insured for all aspects of Electrical Safety Testing with public liability, professional Indemnity and Employers liability copies of which are available here. We are also NAPIT (National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers), Electric Safe and Trustmark registered. We try to show our credentials through our work and accreditation’s, we want our clients to have confidence they have the UK’s Premier Electrical Safety testing providers.
If you are currently reviewing or considering PAT Testing please contact us via the quick form opposite or call us today. We will supply a quotation outline within 1 business hour. Let us try to impress you with both our service and pricing, we are among UK’s most cost-effective providers.
Check out our PAT Testing York, PAT Testing Manchester, PAT Testing Leeds, PAT Testing North East, PAT test North East and PAT Testing Hull pages along with our EICR Testing, Thermal Image Survey and Emergency Light Testing Services.