There is no specific schedule set out. There are however guidelines to help. The frequency of testing depends on the type of equipment and the environment in which it is used. For example a high-risk item such as an electric drill should be tested more frequently than a low risk item such as a PC. Furthermore a drill that is used everyday in a high density manufacturing plant should be tested more frequently than a drill used only occasionally in an office environment. Essentially it is the responsibility of the employer to assess the risk involved and implement it's own program of testing. Most companies still opt for a blanket test of all equipment on an annual basis to ensure conformity.
Can anyone test items?
No, the legislation states that the person testing the item must be a competent person.
Is it done during normal office hours?
This type of testing can be executed either during or outside normal working hours. If you are in charge of a department budget you should be aware that it is likely that evening work and weekend work would attract an uplift in costs.
Do we have to unplug the machines?
Yes. In order to electrically test the equipment it needs to be disconnected from the mains and plugged into a testing device. This is how the electrical readings are obtained and a PASS or FAIL status is defined.
What are the implications for our I.T. systems, servers and critical systems?
In some environments where it is not possible to turn equipment on and off, such as computer suites and comms rooms, it may only be appropriate for a visual inspection to be carried out. If this is the case, then every effort must be made to carry out a combined inspection and test at the next available times. This would normally be during a scheduled shutdown for maintenance purpose.
How long does it take?
This will obviously depend on the number of appliances within you're building and how easily accessible they are. A normal workstation with a computer, printer and extension lead would typically take between 10 and 15 minutes to test and reconnect. If you have any specific timescales to work to you should liaise with us and gain clarification.
Is Portable Appliance Testing a legal requirement?
PAT Testing or portable appliance testing is a specialized process of testing all portable electrical appliances to ensure they are safe to use. It is a legal requirement, and your responsibility as an employer, to make sure that all electrical appliances in the workplace are regularly maintained and in good repair. It is therefore recommended good practice to test the appliances are safe to use by means of PAT Testing.
Does PAT Testing affect insurance cover?
Insurance companies assume when giving cover that there is compliance with all necessary regulations. An insurance company may reduce, delay or even refuse to pay a claim for damage if an appliance that has not been tested is the cause.