Electrical safety is essential because it protects people, property and the environment from injury or damage. Several factors, including faulty wiring, improper installations or poor maintenance, can cause electrical accidents.
Electrical hazards are severe not only for those working in industries such as construction but also for homeowners who may be doing their electrical work. Nearly one-third of all home fires in the U.S. can be attributed to household appliances that have been improperly installed or maintained over time, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The NFPA estimates that about 170 people die each year from electrical fires at home – most often when they’re asleep – while another 2,500 suffer injuries from these blazes.
As a result, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) advises that all electrical appliances should be installed properly and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions to reduce the possibility of fire and shock hazards.
What is PAT testing, and why it’s important
PAT Testing is a very essential part of electrical safety. It is the process of checking that all electrical appliances are safe to use. Checking entails testing them for correct wiring, insulation, voltage and earth continuity. All these tests need to be carried out under the appropriate test standard, which will vary depending on the type of appliance being tested.
The purpose of PAT testing is to ensure that any faults cannot lead to injury or damage due to electric shock or fire caused by faulty wiring or insulation.
The risk assessments you carry out should determine how often your appliances will need to undergo a PAT inspection, but this would likely be around once every three years for most types of equipment. Your supplier may have their specific requirements
How to undertake a PAT test
A PAT test is undertaken by putting the appliance into a circuit with a suitable current transformer. This measures the resistance or impedance that a machine offers to a current flowing through it. Next, check each outlet for the appliance to ensure earth continuity. If there are any signs of plug corrosion, they should be cleaned and replaced. Wiring should also be inspected for any signs of damage or wear and tear, loose connections or chafing. And finally, use a voltage tester to ensure that electricity is not being supplied at any other point in the circuit.
When should you do a PAT test?
PAT testing should help prevent accidents and the safety of your employees, clients or family. Electrical equipment is often used in safety-critical situations, whether in an industrial setting or at home. That’s why all appliances must be regularly PAT tested to ensure they are safe before they are used.
Consult with your suppliers to determine the most appropriate test interval for different types of equipment. For example, suppose an appliance is intended for regular domestic use. In that case, this will likely be around once every three years, but in situations where the equipment may be more at risk of damage or interference, such as in the case of tools or equipment for commercial use, the appliance could need it more frequently.
PAT testing should never be done by untrained staff – they need to understand all the safety requirements and what kind of faults could occur with each type of appliance before testing can begin. Speaking to rb testing who carry out pat testing in birmingham have said there are more and more companies that don’t have equipment regularly tested.
The dangers of not having your appliances tested for safety
The dangers of not having your appliances tested for safety could lead to injury or damage to property. Furthermore, it could also be dangerous for your employees if they are operating faulty equipment – this may occur due to a lack of training in recognising potential electrical hazards. However, employees working with PAT tested equipment won’t have this concern, so it is essential to undertake periodic PAT testing so all appliances remain safe.
What are the rules surrounding PAT testing?
The Electricity at Work Regulations set a legal obligation on employers to ensure that any electrical equipment within their business premises is PAT tested to ensure it does not present a safety risk. This includes washing machines, photocopiers and computers which need to be maintained in proper working order, so they are safe to use.
Employers also need to make sure that any electrical equipment brought on-site is PAT tested before it’s put into service, and the safety of all items should be checked at least once a year. For example, if an office has photocopiers, desktop computers, and printers, they would need to undergo PAT testing separately and more frequently if they are in constant use.
In this article, you have learned the importance of PAT testing and how to undertake a test. We also provided information on when it should be done as well as some rules surrounding its use. Follow the tips above to ensure that everything is going smoothly in your safety practices.