Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

What is PAT Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing commonly known as PAT Testing is a legal requirement in Ireland to ensure all businesses have adequate checks on electrical appliances to ensure their safety.

This includes computers, power tools, fans, kettles and more.

Why PAT test your equipment?

Not only has it been a legal requirement since 2007, but many insurance companies are now requiring PAT testing certification before issuing businesses with either building insurance or public liability insurance, so make sure you are covered today!

An up-to-date PAT testing certificate is also needed for:

  • Hotels.
  • Farmer’s markets.
  • Pop-up food courts.
  • Shopping Centre’s temporary displays.
  • Music Festivals.
  • Landlords.
  • Building sites.

In the event of an accident relating to one of your electrical equipment, not having a valid certificate can result in heavy fines, the loss of your insurance cover and legal prosecution in the unfortunate event of an accidental death.

Ongoing maintenance and checks on your electrical equipment mean you are keeping with the advised safety standards. Not only safety for the business but also safety for its employees.

A PAT test will make sure that the equipment is secure to use for some time. The interval between PAT tests depends on the appliance and the working environment in which it is used.

Benefits of PAT testing your electrical equipment

By making sure that your electrical equipment is completely safe for purpose by PAT testing you’ll have the following benefits:

  • Legal Compliance.
  • Cheaper business insurance premiums.
  • Safer and longer lasting electrical equipment.
  • Peace of mind knowing that both your employees and customers are operating and visiting a secure environment.

At McArdle & Traynor, we are specialists in PAT testing and provide this service throughout the Dublin and Meath area.

For more information on our PAT Testing services, call us now. We can help meet your companies’ legal requirements.

What We Do

Specialized equipment is used to test all electrical appliances at recommended intervals. Both visual and electrical testing is carried out by a fully certified professional.

On completion, a comprehensive report is compiled on each appliance along with specific details. We also include further recommendations for the business.

Contact us today to inquire about our PAT Testing services or fill in the following form to book a PAT Test.

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PAT Testing FAQs

PAT testing’s core function is to ensure the safety of portable electric appliances. Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is a series of tests that are run on portable electrical equipment that certifies the safety of the equipment.

To give it its formal name, PAT testing is sometimes referred to as the Inspection and Testing of Inservice Electrical Equipment. As its formal name suggests, Inspection and Testing of equipment is part of the process. However, it is just one piece of a process that includes the following:

  1. Ongoing informal checks of the equipment by users
  2. Formal visual inspection of all relevant electrical equipment
  3. The PAT component. This involves a manual test of the equipment with a PAT testing device
  4. Recording and upkeep of testing records

It is highly advised that all businesses perform regular PAT testing on their portable electrical appliances. Sectors where PAT testing is highly recommended, include:

  • Offices
  • Catering and hospitality (restaurants, hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, Airbnb, etc.)
  • Healthcare settings including – hospitals, dental surgeries, opticians
  • Manufacturing sites
  • Construction sites
  • Self-employed, even if home-based

Basically, any business that utilises electrical equipment (not many don’t) is strongly advised to put a PAT testing system in place.

Under Irish Law, since 2007, all appliances must be tested on an annual basis. It is an employer’s legal obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment used in the workplace is safe and poses no threat to users.

The name Portable Appliance Testing suggests that only equipment that can be plugged in and moved is covered. But this is only part of the story, all the equipment that should be tested is categorised by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET).

These categories are detailed below:

  • Portable Appliances – This includes items like – Kettles, fans, radios. Anything that can easily be moved is covered in this category
  • Handheld Appliances – Power tools, soldering irons, hairdryers/clippers. If an appliance is held whilst it is in operation, it is included in this category.
  • Movable Appliances – This category differs from “portable appliances” as the equipment is generally larger. This category includes fridges, microwaves, coffee machines, etc.
  • Stationary Appliances – This covers generally larger appliances, items like freezers, ovens, and washing machines are included.
  • Built-in/Fixed Appliances – This category covers any appliance that is considered static. Ovens built-in to units, lathes and pillar drills, dishwashers are all covered.
  • IT Appliances – PCs and laptop chargers, printers, servers, etc.
  • Extension leads – All types of extension leads, and adapters are covered.

Additionally, in the case of specialist appliances, the guidance of the manufacturer should be sought.

How equipment is classified is important as it determines the inspection criteria required for the equipment. Ultimately, these classes are determined by the design factors that provide user protection.

Electrical appliances use two methods to ensure users safety:

  1. Basic Protection – This should be a fundamental design aspect of any appliance. It ensures that any live part of the appliance is insulated and covered to prevent users from being able to touch them.
  2. Fault Protection – This is a mechanism that protects users in instances where parts of an appliance have become unintentionally live because of a fault. This usually comprises reinforced or double insulation and/or the “Earth Wire”. This wire provides a low-resistance path to the ground that diverts live current from passing through a person.

Equipment Classes

For PAT testing, there are three relevant classes of equipment.

Class I – This class relies on the insulation of live parts to protect against accidental contact with live components. Additionally, they are earthed to provide protection in cases where a fault has caused the outer casing to become live, and the casing is made from conductive materials.

Examples of Class I equipment include coffee machines, desk fans, and kettles.

Class II – This class of equipment relies on insulation to protect the user in the case of a fault occurring. The insulation is either of the double insulation type or reinforced insulation. This class of equipment does not rely on an earth connection to protect the user in the case of a fault. Rather the enhanced insulation ensures that electricity cannot reach any part of the equipment where it has the potential to cause harm.

Class II equipment can be identified by a double square symbol on the appliance. Examples include Lamps, TVs, Hair Dryers, Power tools, etc.

Class III – This class relies on protection from a Separated Extra-Low Voltage Supply (SELV). This is usually less than 120vdc or 50vac, and at such low voltage, testing is not required. However, in cases like mobile phones and laptops which fall into this category, the chargers or power supplies will require testing.

PAT testing should be carried out regularly, at least annually, and in some cases quarterly. Formal visual inspections can be carried out on an ongoing basis and should be carried out by someone with appropriate knowledge. In low-risk situations, this can be carried out by a member of staff that has received training.

For higher-risk environments, the testing should be carried out by a trained professional with expertise in the field. This also applies in cases where manual testing and inspection are required.

Fire risks, burns, and electric shocks are all risks associated with faulty electric appliances. Regular PAT testing negates this risk and ensures that your business is compliant with Health and Safety legislation.

It is a simple, convenient, and cost-effective method of ensuring the safety of your employees, premises, and peace of mind.