Acts and Regulations

Portable appliance testing is NOT a legal requirement.

Luna Testing Ltd would like to clarify this, as we know it is a myth often reinforced by Pat testing companies. However, the following Acts and Regulations demonstrate a need for all electrical appliances to be maintained and routinely checked for safety.

Section 2 of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 specifies a duty of care for employers towards their employees: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees 2a) the provision and maintenance of plant and systems at work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.."

Regulation 4 from The Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 states: "Systems, work activities and protective equipment. 1) All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger. 2) As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger. 3) Every work activity, including operation, use and maintenance of a system and work near s system, shall be carried out in such a manner as not to give rise, so far is reasonably practicable, to danger. 4) Any equipment provided under these regulations for the purpose of protecting persons at work on or near electrical equipment shall be suitable for the use for which it was provided, be maintained in a condition suitable for that use, and be properly used."

The Electricity At Work Regulations apply to all electrical equipment, from handheld battery operated appliances to large stationary items supplied by 3 phase. These requirements can be met by: 1. Performing in-service inspection and testing, which consist of three activities: i) user checks ii) formal visual inspections (without tests) iii) combined inspections and tests 2. Performing maintenance or, if necessary, replacing the defective item of equipment (depending on the results of the in-service insoection and testing) and 3. Keeping up-to-date records that can be a means of showing compliance.

Management of Health and safety at Work Regulations 1999 state: An organisation is required to: 1) Assess the risks to all persons associated with their electrical equipment, identifying the significant risks e.g portable equipment used out of doors, and make a record of the assessment. 2) As appropriate, appoint a competent person to take responsibility for electrical maintenance including inspection and testing, ensuring that the person given this responsibility is competent in that he or she has sufficient training and experience and knowledge..."

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 cover most risks associated with using work equipment in the workplace, including fixed, portable and transportable equipment.

Regulation 5 (1) of PUWER requires employers to ensure that work equipment is "maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair."

Summary To summarise, Pat testing is NOT a legal requirement. However, it IS widely recognised as the accepted method of proving adherence to the above Acts and Regulations.
Employers, employees, visitors, contractors and members of the public are all at possible risk from electrical appliances and it is therefore vital all electrical equipment is at the very least subjected to routine user checks and routine recorded checks by an appointed member of staff. This is not always possible or neglected and therefore portable appliance testing is a convenient and cost effective way to ensure recorded visual inspections and testing take place.

Please note, pat testing should not be considered INSTEAD of routine user checks, rather as a part of the visual and combined testing schedule.