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What Does PAT Testing Stand For?

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

What does PAT testing stand for? This frequently asked question is simply answered: PAT is the process of checking portable appliances through a series of visual inspections and electronic tests.

Electrical portable appliance testing definition is the formal term for the process of "in-service inspection & testing of electrical equipment"

So PAT stands for Portable Appliance Testing for which the standard interpretation is any appliance that has a plug attached to it and plugs into a wall outlet. Some appliances only need a reduced test referred to as a PAT insulation test.

What is electrical portable appliance testing? Read on for more details…

UK legislation

PAT testing isn’t a legal requirement, but current UK legislation requires businesses to maintain all electrical equipment in a safe condition, and ensure the safety of employees and the public.

PAT testing regulations in the UK are covered in:

  • The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

  • The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

  • The Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

  • The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Not meeting these obligations on electrical appliance safety can result in an unlimited financial penalty and up to two years imprisonment.

Electrical appliance safety responsibilities

In large businesses, a competent person should be appointed to make sure that the company complies with UK legislation. In smaller businesses, the employer is responsible for the safety of all electrical appliances.

Types of appliance to test

There are seven categories of appliances that are typically considered for electrical portable appliance testing and these are:

  • Cables and chargers covering extension cables and cable reels.

  • Fixed appliances that feature equipment that stays in a permanent location or fastened to a support.

  • Hand-held appliances such as hairdryers and electric drills.

  • IT appliances including monitors, printers, and photocopiers.

  • Moveable appliances that sit in one palace but can easily be moved to another location.

  • Portable appliances that are meant to be moved whilst connected to an electrical supply.

  • Stationary appliances like fridges and washing machines.

Classes of appliances in testing

Electrical appliances are categorised as Class 1, 2 or 3 and help determine whether it needs to be PAT tested and to what degree. See below for detailed electrical classes:

Class 1 appliances

This type of electrical equipment has basic insulation and relies on earthing for protection and needs a full PAT test. Electrical appliances include washing machines, tumble dryers, desktop computers and fridges and freezers, for example.

Class 2 appliances

This kind of electrical equipment has additional insulation and is safer as it doesn’t rely on earthing for protection, and requires a PAT insulation test. Examples of Class 2 appliances include lamps, televisions, hairdryers, lawnmowers, and foods mixers.

Class 3 appliances

These are low voltage items that are the safest class of electrical appliances and only charging leads may need to be PAT tested. Class 3 electrical appliances include laptops, cameras, torches, and mobile phone chargers.

Need an electrician in Farnborough?

Now you know just what is PAT testing you'll be able to arrange for a trusted qualified electrical technician to visit your property and carry out the service for you. After the testing has been completed you’ll receive a report that details the following:

  • An inventory that lists each appliance type, name, description, and location

  • A comprehensive set of test results for every appliance tested

  • A full list of any items that have failed the tests with an explanation why

  • A visible pass or fail label adhered to each appliance with information on the inspection date, the next test due and the electricians signature.

If you have any issues you’ll be able to discuss them with your electrician and be given advice in electrical maintenance for the future.

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