PAT Testing and the Law

Do we have to test our equipment every 12 months?

Whatever you might have heard previously, there is no law which says you MUST PAT Test your equipment. In fact, all that the law requires is that your equipment is maintained in a safe condition.

Of course, keeping it in a safe condition means you must do something – otherwise it will deterioate and you’ll be in trouble when you have an accident.

Most companies take the simple option and pay somebody to carry out their PAT testing every year – in fact a whole industry has emerged over the last few years because of this.

Some ‘smarter’ companies are now realising that they could use a slightly more intelligent approach, one based on risk rather than a mis-guided notion that they HAVE to PAT test. An example might be testing the equipment in the workshops every 3 months, but testing the office equipment every 3 years.

A call centre might decide to test the kitchen equipment (kettles and toasters etc) every year, but test all the computers every 4 years or so. As long as the system works, it complies with the law.

PAT Testing Expert now have a service for large organisations, which is based on a consultancy, rather than a fixed period. They will look at how the equipment is being used, and suggest suitable timescales. In many cases, equipment can be tested far less frequently than it is currently, and this can save a lot of money!



Legal Requirements?

PAT Testing is not a legal requirement, but sometimes other organisations have an influence over testing!

In many cases, insurance companies insist on PAT testing being carried out every 12 months in order for the public and employers liability cover to be valid. Some landlords require companies renting their properties to have PAT Testing carried out, and bands and DJ’s have to have their equipment tested before they can set up in public buildings and hotels.

In an ideal world, we would test our equipment according to a RISK ASSESSMENT – but in practical terms we will end up testing and inspecting our equipment on a regular basis because someone else tells us that’s what we need to do.

The best advice is to consult a professional.

Phone us on 01482 827744 during office hours to chat about how best to tackle this important Health and Safety issue.