In Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia it is required by law that electrical appliances be checked on a routine basis for the safety of the residents of a household or business. This process is called Portable Appliance Testing or PAT. PAT testing equipment is then used for the process and a specially trained and certified individual actually has to conduct the test.
The health and safety regulations require that these devices all be checked to ensure that they are well maintained to prevent harmful effects on workers and residents. The time between the testing of the devices depends on the device and the environment in which it is placed and used.
PAT testing equipment has been specially made for the PAT inspections and they are similar to the equipment that the manufacturer uses to be assured that the equipment meets the Code of Practice and European product standards.
Prior to these regulations, there were many outbreaks of electrical fires which cost many lives. In residential settings where several families live in flats and apartments, the close proximity of the quarters simply multiplies the casualties in such an event. In an industrial situation the same possibility exists, such as in a factory or a plant.
The process of testing in industry, and in the home is to hire an individual, or a company such as Fire & Electrical Safety Ltd to test all of the electrical products by an individual or a firm that has had PAT training and is certified. Some larger companies will hire a person to be trained in the PAT procedures and make them a full time employee for that specific purpose.
Many times problems can be avoided without having to use any PAT testing equipment simply by noticing frayed cords, and the fact that an appliance just stops working. That of course, is a sign that the product needs to be replaced. User checks can be carried out before use, and if any unusual signs such as smoking or heating up is discovered, the item is discarded.
There are guidelines and observations that can be very helpful in labeling an item as either usable or dangerous. A cracked plug, frayed cables, and broken casings can all signal potential danger, and could warrant an inspection by PAT equipment or even causing the item to be thrown away.
The type of testing that a product would go through will depend on the type of product and what it is used for. There are classifications of test that will determine the safety of the device in accordance with codes that apply to that class of device. The more power a product takes to operate, the more stringent the codes will be.
Regular testing and compliance of these items has created a marked improvement in the incidence of accidents and the safety factor has become higher. The fact that the fires and electrical shocking incidents have been reduced dramatically, has validated the process of testing and the continuance of that particular practice. If you need your PAT testing in Milton Keynes or surrounding areas then please contact us at Fire & Electrical Safety Ltd.