PAT Testing Legal Requirements
What are the legal requirements for PAT testing? It’s a common question that nobody really knows the answer to until you do a little digging, but here’s the basic thing you need to know:

PAT testing is not actually a legal requirement.

It is, however, an accepted method of testing that ensures that your organisations’ portable appliances adhere to the regulations set down by several different governing bodies. It is therefore your legal responsibility to make sure that electricity at work is constantly maintained and deemed fit for human use, and PAT testing is a means to prove that these types of checks have been carried out.

The Legislation of PAT Testing
The following legislation acts govern over the process of electrical safety and PAT testing.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Under this act, it is the employer and employee’s responsibility to ensure the safety of anyone else currently using the work premises. Self-employed people are not exempt from this act.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
“Every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessment of:

(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst at work, and

(b) the risks to ensure the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him or his undertaking.”

It is therefore the employer’s responsibility to assess the danger level of the environment their employees will be working in, and make sure they take the relevant steps to make the area as safe as is feasibly possible.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
Like the Electricity at Work Regulations, this regulation applies to using work equipment, and the responsibility of ensuring that that work equipment is maintained to keep it safe for use. It governs over all work equipment (fixed, transportable and portable) that is connected to a source of electrical energy.

It does not apply to fixed installations within a building.

The regulation is as follows:

“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
Perhaps the most comprehensive act covering the testing of electrical items, the Electricity at Work Regulations outline what electrical equipment is defined as, as well as the responsibilities it requires.

“All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.”

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

“‘System’ means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment”

“‘Electrical Equipment’ includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy.”

So Where Does That Leave Me?
It can be a lot of different things to wrap your head around, but is essential that as a company you adhere to these regulations in order to ensure that your electrical equipment (whether portable or otherwise) is officially legal to be used by anyone currently on the premises.

PAT testing is an essential step towards adhering to the many requirements of regulatory bodies, as assessing your equipment thoroughly and then failing/passing that particular appliance means it has been deemed safe by a qualified PAT tester.