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The importance of
PAT Testing

Why PAT Test, what is it?

The phrase PAT Testing is an abbreviation of Portable Appliance Testing. The official term is 'In-service Inspection & Testing of Electrical Equipment', but PAT Testing is the accepted and most commonly used term in the industry.


PAT Testing is the process of periodically testing your electrical appliances, it is an essential aspect of a company’s health & safety policy to ensure the electrical equipment is effectively maintained, free from faults and is safe to use by employees, customers, the public, yourself and anyone else who may use your business premises, or come into contact with it's electrical equipment. It reduces the risk of harm arising to such people, reducing the risk of workplace fires and electric shock, both could be fatal. 

The following legislation has specific relevance to electrical maintenance, and is Statutory UK Law, therefore it must be complied with otherwise it could lead to hefty fines, imprisonment or both.

These are;

  • The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

  • The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998


Below is a brief detail of each legislation and how it applies to electrical equipment. If you are reading this, it is highly likely you who is the responsible person. Remember, it is a statutory requirement to comply with these and your insurance provider may void any insurance policies if the insured doesn't comply with all current regulations. It's not worth the risk!


The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, this Act of Parliament is the main piece of UK health and safety legislation. It places a duty on all employers "to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work" of all their employees.

Among other provisions, the Act also requires:

  • safe operation and maintenance of the working environment, plant, and systems.


The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 imposes legal responsibilities on employers and the self-employed to ensure all electrical equipment in the workplace is safe and regularly inspected, tested and maintained, ensuring a safe workplace for employees and other people who visit.

It states in Regulation 4:

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

  • "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 covers, aspects of electrical systems and equipment, and work on or near these, which are fundamental to electrical safety. ‘Electrical equipment’ as defined in the Regulations, includes every type of electrical equipment, there are no voltage limits in the Regulations; the criteria are whether danger, as defined within the Regulations, may arise. 


The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 applies to the provision and use of all work equipment, including fixed, transportable and portable.

It states in Regulation 5:

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

Equipment must be maintained so that its performance does not deteriorate to the extent that people are put at risk. In regulation 5, ‘efficient’ relates to how the condition of the equipment might affect health and safety. It is not concerned with productivity.

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