What Do You Have To Do About Testing Your Electrical Equipment?

What Do You Have To Do About Testing Your Electrical Equipment?




Portable Appliance Testing (PAT testing) is an important part of an organization or individual’s duty to health and safety. This is done by method of a number of specialized testing responsibilities on your portable appliances.

Many individuals ask if Portable Appliance Testing is a legal obligation?

The answer is a negative, although, it is a statutory obligation and a lot of insurance brokers require the insured to meet the terms of all up to date regulations. This includes the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, which state that “As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger” (Regulation 4(2)). “Electrical equipment includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, transform, conduct, spread, control, store, measure or use electrical energy.” (Regulation 2(1)).

Employer responsibility is also stated by The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. This says that “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or alternation as to be appropriate for the purpose for which it is used or provided.” (Regulation 4(1)). This includes all work equipment (fixed, portable or transportable) connected to a source of electrical energy.”

What does PAT testing include? You might ask. A lot of PAT testing businesses will begin with a visual examination looking for:

· Damaged flexes

· Damaged plugs and gear (overheating, scorch marks, discoloration)

· Correctly wired plugs

· Correctly rated fuse

Then a series of tests (which is reliant on the kind of gear), they might contain:

· Earth continuity testing

· Insulation resistance

· Polarity test

· Earth leakage test

The gear tested by a PAT testing business are simply, any sort of gear, which is supplied by electrical energy.

The IET Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment says that this Code of Practice includes:

Portable Appliances:

An appliance of under 18 kg in weight that is intended to be moved while in use or an appliance which can simply be moved from one place to another, e.g. kettle, food processor, vacuum cleaner, fan heater.

Movable Equipment (sometimes termed Transportable):

This is gear, which is either: 18 kg or less in weight and not fixed, e.g. electric fire, or gear with wheels, castors or other things to assist movement by the operator as necessary to perform its intended use, e.g. an air conditioning unit.

Hand-held Gear:

This is easily moved piece of gear intended to be held in the hand during ordinary use, e.g. paint stripper, grinder, engraver

Stationary Equipment or Appliances:

This gear has a mass greater than 18 kg and does not have a carrying manager, e.g. refrigerator, washing machine.

Fixed Equipment/Appliances:

This is gear of an appliance, which is fastened to a sustain or otherwise fixed in a stated location, e.g. bathroom heater, towel rail, domestic air conditioning.

Appliances/Equipment for fixing in:

This gear is intended to be fixed in a ready made recess such as a cupboard or similar. In general, gear for fixing in does not have an surrounding on all sides because on one or more of the sides, additional protection against electric shock is provided by the surroundings e.g. a built-in electric cooker.

Information Technology Equipment (Business Equipment):

IT gear includes electrical business gear such as PC and mains supplied phone gear, and other gear for normal business use, such as mail processing machines, electric plotters, trimmers, VDUs, data terminal equipment, typewriters, telephones, printers, photo-copiers, strength packs.

Extension Leads:

The use of extension leads should be avoided where possible]. If used, they should be tested as portable appliances. It is recommended that 3-chief cables (including a protective earthing conductor) be used.

A standard 13 A 3-pin extension socket-outlet with a 2-chief wire should not be used already if the gear to be used is Class II, as it would not provide protection against electrical shock if used at any moment with an item of Class I gear.

The length of an extension cable for normal use should not go beyond the following:

– chief Area Longest Length

– 1.25mm2 12 meters

– 1.5mm2 15 meters

– 2.5mm2 25 meters

– 2.5mm2 leads are too big for standard 13 A plugs, but they might be used in conjunction with BS EN 60309 industrial plugs.

These maximum lengths are not applicable to the rule of an appliance, for instructions refer to use 15.13 (IEE Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment).

If extension cable lengths do go beyond the above, they shall be protected by a 30 mA RCD manufactured to BS 7071.




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