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What Does PAT Testing Stand For – And What Does It Mean?

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what does pat testing stand for – and what does it mean?

Whether you’re a site manager or business owner, it’s pretty likely you’ll have heard of PAT testing at some point in your career. However, there’s a difference between hearing an abbreviation and knowing what it stands for – let alone what it actually means.

Read on as we tackle both of those points…

What does PAT testing stand for?

PAT stands for Portable Appliance Testing. That may seem a bit odd, given that PAT testing consequently means ‘portable appliance testing testing’ – but it’s simply down to PAT being abbreviated so commonly.

Because of the above, it’s sometimes known as PA Testing. However, given that it’s much easier and quicker to say “PAT testing”, this is definitely the most common name.

And what does it mean?

PAT testing is a way of inspecting and testing portable appliances in line with the 1989 Electricity at Work Regulations. In short, appliances must be tested for three key safety and function aspects – lead polarity, insulation resistance and earth continuity.

It applies to a vast array of appliances and machines that are plugged into your mains – not just those you would associate with being ‘portable’, including:

  • Power tools
  • Monitors
  • Printers
  • PCs
  • Photocopiers
  • Vending machines
  • Kettles
  • Microwaves
  • Dishwashers
  • Portable heaters
  • Phone chargers
  • Extension leads

Why is PAT testing important?

PAT testing deems whether portable appliances are safe to use or unsafe. If it’s the latter, it will need to be removed from use with immediate effect. Meanwhile, safe items will be labelled with an appliance ID, date of test, and a date for when the next test is required.

While it’s not a legal obligation in itself, 1989 Electricity at Work regulation 4(2) states:

“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger”

Put simply, PAT testing is a reasonably practicable way to prevent danger in the workplace.

If accidents occur, the courts will usually look for PAT testing (along with other checks) to see if you’ve done your bit to protect your staff. Failure to keep up with PAT tests is typically seen as a failure to keep your workplace safe.

The result? Financial penalties and even imprisonment. In 2016, Wingate Electrical was fined £225,000 for failing to inspect equipment and failing to isolate a high voltage power supply. These failings resulted in a worker suffering life-changing burn injuries, enduring a serious electric shock and spending almost a month in a coma.

PAT testing for Leeds businesses

Whether you want to avoid fines and penalties, maintain compliance (and the peace of mind that comes with it), or just provide a safe working environment for your staff or visitors, Volta Compliance is on hand to help.

Our certified electricians can complete PAT testing for all your eligible portable appliances, including a thorough visual inspection and rigorous electrical test. Sound good? Give us a call on 0113 397 1361 or email [email protected] for a bespoke, no obligation quote.

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Richard Carr Volta Compliance
Richard Carr
Managing Director
Richard is the Director of Volta Compliance. He is a fully qualified approved electrician graded with the JIB. Richard has over 20 years electrical experience working on commercial and industrial installations.