Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) Law Overview

by | Mar 21, 2024 | Blog

Portable Appliance Testing, or PAT, plays a critical role in maintaining health and safety standards, as well as adhering to fire risk policies, for several reasons:

  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that 25% of all electrical accidents involve portable appliances.
  • Annually, around 1,000 workplace accidents involving electric shocks or burns are reported to the HSE, with approximately 15 being fatal.

Legal Responsibilities Under Electrical Regulations:

Employers, employees, and self-employed individuals are legally required to safely use portable electrical equipment. This involves adopting a systematic maintenance, inspection, and testing approach as mandated by the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974). The act emphasizes the duty of workplace managers, business owners, or appointed persons to fulfil these obligations.

Key Legislation Related to Electrical Testing and Certification:

  1. Health & Safety at Work Act 1974: Imposes a duty on employers, landlords, and users of electrical equipment to ensure its safety and to maintain records and certification.
  2. Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999: Requires employers to conduct thorough risk assessments for their employees and others affected by their operations.
  3. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998: Mandates that work equipment be kept in good working order and condition. This regulation covers all work equipment and specifies that portable electrical items must be tested and certified, excluding fixed electrical installations.
  4. Electricity at Work Regulations 1989: This regulation specifies that all electrical systems must be constructed and maintained to prevent danger as much as reasonably practicable. This includes a broad range of electrical equipment connected to a standard power source.

Scope of Legislation:

These regulations collectively apply to all electrical equipment used in the workplace, from the power distribution systems to the smallest portable devices. There is a clear requirement for regular inspection and testing of all types of electrical equipment within work environments. To comply, all new appliances introduced into the workplace must undergo Portable Appliance Testing as recommended by a qualified technician.