Prevent any harm coming to your employees

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT), Wiltshire and The South West

SMARTech Electrical Services team are here to support your PAT Testing requirements and comply with all insurance regulations

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

As a business and employer, you have a duty to prevent any harm coming to your employees, visitors and customers.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 Regulations required that all electrical systems (including electrical appliances) are maintained, so far as is reasonably practical, to prevent danger.

Whilst PAT testing (Portable Appliance Testing) is not strictly compulsory, it is general regarded as one of the ways to meet the requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations. PAT testing is also regarded as one of the ways to help you meet your obligations under the Health and Safety At Work Act, under which all employers have a legal duty to provide safe plant and equipment and every employer must ensure that equipment must be maintained in an efficient state, in working order and good repair.

Failure to implement a programme of regular appliance testing can also have implications for your insurance policy should an electrical related injury or fire claim be made. Insurance companies assume that when giving insurance cover to a business, the owners of that business are complying with all regulations necessary.

An insurance company may reduce, delay or even refuse to pay on a claim for damage if an appliance that has not been tested has caused the damage.

What is portable appliance testing?

Portable appliance testing (PAT) is the term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use. Most electrical safety defects can be found by visual examination but some types of defect can only be found by testing. However, it is essential to understand that visual examination is an essential part of the process because some types of electrical safety defect can’t be detected by testing alone.

A relatively brief user check (based upon simple training and perhaps assisted by the use of a brief checklist) can be a very useful part of any electrical maintenance regime. However, more formal visual inspection and testing by a competent person may also be required at appropriate intervals, depending upon the type of equipment and the environment in which it is used

How often should I have PAT test?

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. However, the Regulations do not specify what needs to be done, by whom or how frequently (ie they don’t make inspection or testing of electrical appliances a legal requirement, nor do they make it a legal requirement to undertake this annually).

The frequency of inspection and testing depends upon the type of equipment and the environment it is used in. For example, a power tool used on a construction site should be examined more frequently than a lamp in a hotel bedroom. For guidance on suggested frequencies of inspection and testing, see: Maintaining portable and transportable electrical equipment.

Should I keep records of PAT testing?

There is no legal requirement to label equipment that has been inspected or tested, nor is there a requirement to keep records of these activities. However, a record and / or labelling can be a useful management tool for monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the maintenance scheme – and to demonstrate that a scheme exists.

Do I need a qualified electrician for PAT testing?

The person doing testing work needs to competent to do it. In many low-risk environments, a sensible (competent) member of staff can undertake visual inspections if they have enough knowledge and training. However, when undertaking combined inspection and testing, a greater level of knowledge and experience is needed, and the person will need:

  • the right equipment to do the tests
  • the ability to use this test equipment properly
  • the ability to properly understand the test results
Is Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) compulsory?

No. The law simply requires an employer to ensure that their electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger. It does not say how this should be done or how often. Employers should take a risk-based approach, considering the type of equipment and what it is being used for.

If it is used regularly and moved a lot e.g. a floor cleaner or a kettle, testing (along with visual checks) can be an important part of an effective maintenance regime giving employers confidence that they are doing what is necessary to help them meet their legal duties. HSE provides guidance on how to maintain equipment including the use of PAT.

The SMARTech Electrical Services team are here to support your PAT Testing requirements. Our qualified electricians are experienced across a wide array of sectors including: commercial, industrial, leisure, education, health, charities, hotels and retail.

We are here to support your PAT Testing requirements

Ensure equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and good repair


  • One of the ways to meet the requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations
  • Help you meet your obligations under the Health and Safety At Work Act
  • Help comply with all insurance regulations
  • SMARTech Electrical Service qualified electricians

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