If you work in an office or any facility where electrical appliances are used you will doubtless have seen the Pat Test tags which are commonly used to monitor the maintenance of electrical devices in the workplace. But how is the information on these Pat Testing Stickers labels to be understood, and how do they benefit everyone in the environment?
First of all, let’s clear up a few misconceptions. The Portable Appliance Testing, or ‘PAT’ scheme, is not a legal requirement rand firms to not have to display Passed Pat Test labels on all their office devices before they can be used. The Pat protocol is a voluntary way companies can display that they are taking necessary steps to maintain their equipment in a safe condition, which is a legal requirement. Another mistaken belief is that Pat inspections can only be undertaken by qualified electrical engineers. While many firms do employ electrical professionals to perform inspections for them as a convenient way of fulfilling their obligations, in fact anyone who understands the operation of the equipment in question and has a sound attitude toward health and safety can conduct the test and issue Pat Test Pass labels when appropriate. Finally, we should never make the assumption that just because certain items have Pat Test Passed labels that they are safe to use and cannot pose a danger. We all have a responsibility to our colleagues and to ourselves, so if you spot a fault of potential hazard effecting a device don’t ignore it, even if it has a current Pat label. Report all faults immediately.
Pat Testing Labels come in many shapes and sizes, but all must contain certain basic items of information if they are to be useful in maintaining the records necessary for a complete and comprehensive company-wide testing program. The first piece of information is whether the device has been deemed safe to use. If any appliance fails a Pat test, it is wise to clearly label it with a Failed Pat Test tag, to warn all personnel of its condition. Ideally, the item should be locked away or made completely inoperable, so as to prevent accidental operation. The next piece of information which should appear on all Pat Test labels is the date the inspection took place. It is wise to re-examine most devices at least once per year, at which time the Pat Stickers should be updated or replaced. If you notice when using an item that it has not been submitted for a Pat inspection for several years, there is a good chance the appliance has not been thoroughly maintained and you should report the issue to a manager. For this purpose, some Pat Labels also contain a field for a re-test date, to ensure regular examinations are carried out.
To learn more about Pat Testing appliances and the labelling used in the process, read Part 2 or contact Label Bar directly today.