WHAT IS PAT(Portable Appliance Testing) TESTING?
Any electrical equipment that is in an installation that is portable (whether permanently connected or not by plug and to a socket outlet) should be inspected and tested to be in accordance with the regulations set by governing bodies. But what exactly deems a piece of electrical equipment as ‘portable?’
In the IET code of practice, they define a portable appliance as: “An appliance of not more than 18kg in mass that is intended to be moved while in operation or an appliance that can easily be moved from one place to another, e.g. toaster, food mixer, kettle”.
A portable appliance, therefore, is generally the common day to day items you might see in an office. Everything from microwaves to computer monitors should be tested using PAT testing, and it is important that nothing is glossed over in the test and each and every appliance within an environment that is ‘portable’ is checked over thoroughly. This means, in a scenario where a live wire has broken and come into contact with a conductive extraneous part, the earth wire resistance will be low (good) enough to trip an RCD in the fuse board and prevent a person from receiving a potentially fatal electric shock. But in other cases, we can’t be sure.
Various tests can be performed including earth leakage and touch current (which are useful soft tests for sensitive equipment, so that damage doesn't occur), as well as polarity tests for leads and visual/ functional tests or inspections for ALL items. Some items such as AC adapters, which charge mobile phones or power switches and routers, only need visual tests; the protection from electric shock depends only on the outer shell which provides double insulation. If these items have visible damage they fail immediately without the need for an electrical test.
HOW PAT TESTING SAVES LIVES AND MONEY
Any business owner or employer has a duty of care to their employees, customers, and workplace users, and through their duty are required to have a stringent health and safety policy in place. Many owners/employers look at health and safety as a burden and rather than implement its recommendations, look at ways to save money. Portable Appliance Testing is a process you can put into place either in-house or by using an external contractor, which is cheaper than hiring a full-time maintenance team, causes less disruption than regular maintenance, and can find faults quicker than a maintenance team. We at General Tech Services do PAT testing for all equipment.
The process of PAT involves inspecting and testing all the electrical appliances on the site to ensure they function correctly and are safe to use. If not, general repairs are carried out or instructions are provided as the best course of action to take. General Tech Services is capable of doing PAT testing along with repair works if needed. As a last resort, an item may be failed; but if so, it’s in the best interest of potential users to take this out of service. Remember though, failing an appliance test is actually beneficial because once that appliance is taken away, it is no longer a threat; thus lives are being protected. If you run a busy factory and year on year everything passes the tests, you should be asking if that's right. When carrying out the PAT, the engineer may come across a faulty appliance that just needs repairing rather than removing it from service. What repairs they end up conducting depends on the appliance and the skills of the engineer. All PAT engineers should be able to replace a faulty or damaged plug for a new one, replace fuses and conduct basic repairs on the flexible cable. That is often enough to ensure an appliance passes. Perhaps the appliance needs opening up in order to repair it; a PAT engineer isn’t necessarily an appliance technician or specialist for that product, so it shouldn’t always be expected that the engineer will conduct the repair. It is for these reasons that you should carefully choose a good PAT testing company. A good PAT tester will
• Find the faults and remove them, thus “saving lives”.
• Recommends what appliances need repair, so you are only repairing what needs repairing, rather than everything, subsequently removing the need for a full-time maintenance team.
• Save you time, because, from his skills and experience, they will be able to do their job at a high working standard, without cutting corners, in a shorter time period than it would take the maintenance team to do it or to maintain every appliance.
• Manage the logistics of the contract with you so that disruption to your team is kept to a minimum, ensuring production isn’t affected and therefore saving you any potential lost revenue.
Finally, we must look at insurance – PAT has a benefit where your insurance is concerned. There is a chance at some point you will need to make a claim on your insurance, be it for a fire or someone taking legal action against you. If the claim is due to a faulty electrical appliance, your insurer will want to know if you have had it checked recently; was it safe to use? Had it been maintained regularly, or PAT tested? Every year, there are 350,000 serious injuries as a direct result of electrical accidents. The insurance firms know that many of these injuries can be avoided through regular appliance testing, so it is no surprise that it’s one of the first questions they ask. Failing to find faults, or replace faulty equipment contributes to 24% of the thousands of electrical fires in non-residential buildings every year - these are statistics no business owner should ignore. Who Is Responsible for PAT testing? Technically, anyone who is going to use, or those around portable appliances have a duty of care to ensure the equipment they’re working with is in satisfactory condition. This doesn’t mean they should be responsible for carrying out the PAT testing itself, but rather refers to the users and people around it regularly making sure that electrical equipment isn’t obviously damaged, and flagging damaged goods up with management as soon as they are found.
In the IET code of practice, they define the people responsible for electrical equipment maintenance as:
• The actual user of the electrical equipment
• Administrators with responsibility for electrical maintenance (even those without detailed technical knowledge)
• The ‘competent person’ carrying out the formal visual inspection and the inspections and tests
• Other duty holders such as company directors, managers, or building services managers
General Tech Services LLC does on-site and in-house PAT testing services. Our team of experienced technicians can detect faults and rectify them irrespective of the make and model of your equipment. Our Customer management software has been modified to host soft copies of the testing certificates along with hard copies for the customers, even if they lose their copy after years. Our team does PAT testing in Dubai, Sharjah, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi. We are the calibration experts in the UAE with experience of 22 years. Contact us for a quotation for the best PAT testing services in the UAE.
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