It is your company Duty Holder's responsibility to ensure that ALL electrical systems are maintained. It is well known within the industry that there are unscrupulous companies that do little more than place a label. We advise that ALL appliances undergo a Formal Visual Inspection prior to Pat Testing as this can identify over 90% of faults. 

How Long Will It Take?



One of our technicians should complete approx 25 items per hour

but this depends upon the environment and any repairs encountered.



 The LAW  requires employers to maintain electrical systems at work to prevent any danger. Combined inspection and testing of electrical appliances is therefore useful to help determine if maintenance is necessary. PAT Testing is the slang name for electrical testing of appliances and has now become the most recognised way of doing this.



Inspection and testing alone will not result in compliance with the Law and should be regarded as a risk assessment. Only after any remedial works (If notified) are carried out and all practicable steps have been taken to prevent danger will you begin to achieve compliance.


Electrical systems refer to the installation as well as all the appliances connected to it. A qualified electrician should normally inspect the installation at periodic intervals.


The inspection and testing of electrical items to determine if maintenance is necessary, can largely be carried out in-house in many organisations which can limit costly   ' downtime'. 

WORKSAFEPAT Ltd are able to train your staff (if required) if you would like to carry out your own inspection and testing safely. You do not need to be an electrician in order to carry out pat testing but sufficient training is required to help prevent danger.

How should inspecting and testing be carried out?

The HSE recommend a three-stage process for this.


User checks.

Advising the user of potential danger signs can result in problems being picked up before they can result in any danger. For example, if the power cable is frayed or the plug is cracked, users need to be advised NOT TO USE the appliance and report the fault to a supervisor. 



Formal Visual Inspections.

This is a process of simply inspecting the appliance, the cable and the plug for any obvious signs of damage.   This is the most important part of maintaining appliances and can be left out by some low cost pat testing companies who rely on labelling unrealistic quantities to achieve income.



Even though there is no requirement to record results, maintenance logs could form part of a defence in cases of negligence. Inspections should be carried out at planned intervals with a recommendation of formal recording of the results. According to the HSE, more than 90% of faults or damage can be found just by looking. The following is a check list of  problems to look for.


  •       Damage to power cable sheath.
  •       Damage to mains plug
  •        Signs of Counterfeit accessories (sleeved earth pins etc)
  •        Any taped joints to cable
  •        No inner insulation exposed This is when the outer sheath of the cable is not effectively secured where it enters the plug or       equipment. Obvious evidence of this would be if the coloured insulation of the internal cable is showing.  
  •  Check for signs that the equipment has been subject to conditions for which it is not suitable, e.g. wet or excessively rusty
  •  no damage to external casing of the equipment, or loose parts or screws.
  •  no evidence of overheating.


In addition, formal inspection should include removal of the plug cover and checking that :

  •   the correct value fuse is being used.
  •   the cord grip is holding the outer part of the cable tightly.
  •   the Live, Neutral and earth wires are attached to the correct terminals.
  •   no bare conductor is visible outside the terminals
  •   the terminal screws are tight
  • that there is no sign of internal damage, overheating or entry of liquid, dust or dirt

These checks apply to the plugs and sockets of extension leads also.

Combined Inspections and PAT testing.

At periodic intervals, it is essential to test the portable appliances to measure the degree of protection and to ensure that  it is adequate. At these intervals, a formal visual inspection is carried out which is then followed by electrical safety testing. A specialist test instrument (portable appliance test instrument) is used by persons with sufficient training, who can interpret test results to determine risk.  All inspection and testing frequencies are dependant upon a risk-based assessment.

Who can carry out PAT testing?


One needs to be a competent person to carry out PAT testing.   They need to be able to take sensible precautions,   and need to   know what to look for when carrying out testing.

Sometimes a simple PASS/FAIL   test instrument is not enough to test appliances which may fail the 500V dc   Insulation test by design   but may pass an alternative Earth Leakage test and be perfectly safe to use. Long lengths of flexible cable as found on extension reels can produce a higher resistance reading outside the set parameters of a PASS/FAIL instrument and although safe to use will also fail unnecessarily.



The frequency of the PAT testing is based upon the chance of the appliance being damaged in use. So this depends on the design of the appliance (Class I or Class II), on how easy it is to move (stationary, handheld etc) and also on where it is used (office, school, construction site etc). WORKSAFEPAT always promote risk based electrical testing frequencies.



For Practical purposes where there are a mixture of earthed handheld appliances and earthed stationary items in lower risk environments most businesses will opt for a combined inspection and test.

Which items are suitable for PAT Testing?


Basically, any electrical item poses a risk to health and safety and is required to be maintained.  A competent person will need to assess if maintenance is required and the frequency of such an assessment will depend upon on the class of equipment and environment and whether it is stationary or portable. The reason for this is that most of the damage occurs to the power cord or the plug and the chances of this happening are higher if the appliance can be moved but even stationary items can become faulty or damaged so one has to inspect and electrically test fridge freezers, washing machines etc. even items that are fixed to the installation.

Of course items that are handheld, such as drills, hair dryers etc. can suffer damage more easily. For this reason they should be inspected/tested more frequently than stationary items such as fridge freezers in order to ascertain if maintenance is required.

The frequency of inspection/testing should be determined by the responsible person who may seek the advice of a third party. 


Essential Tests

When an electrical appliance is manufactured, the level of protection is determined by its construction and is production tested for safety. It is essential that any electrical system is maintained to ensure the same level of safety is achieved throughout its working life. Pat testing is the name which comes to mind most often as an acronym for this type of testing, although Portable Appliance Testing refers to only a selection of electrical appliances. In fact not only portable but transportable, moveable, stationary and items fixed to the installation by means of a spur must also be maintained.

Routine Electrical Equipment Maintenance Inspection and Test (REEMIT) is possibly a more apt acronym as the term PAT is better suited to the appliance test instrument which is portable.

Items of Class 1 construction rely upon a protective earth conductor which is bonded to exposed metalwork to protect the user from electrical shock.

Items of Class 2 construction rely upon double insulation to separate any exposed metal from live parts.

Items that are classified as Class 3 rely on (SELV) safety extra low voltage to protect the user.

The essential tests would consist of an 'Earth Bond' test carried out at either 25Amps or 200mA (soft test) and an insulation resistance test @ 500V dc for class 1 equipment. The insulation resistance test verifies the integrity of internal wiring insulation and and that there is no flash over.

Items of Class 2 construction will require insulation resistance testing (depending upon environmental risk level) as a minimum. Some PAT instruments provide additional tests such as load testing, Flash Testing at a much higher test voltage (typically 1KV +) and touch current leakage.

This information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further information can be sourced under The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Statutory legislation such as:

 The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. (EAWR)

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

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WORKSAFEPAT Ltd Registered in England and Wales 07443372 Ty Menter - Parc Navigation - Abercynon - CF45 4SN

Telephone 01443 403430