The procedure commonly known as PAT Testing has been a great success. The UK is one of the safest of all the developed nations in which to work, according to recent figures. Much of this is down to the thorough application of guidance which has made safe working practices part of daily life for millions of employees. While PAT testing and the use of PAT test labels as practiced at thousands of companies across a wide range of industries is not in itself a legal requirement, it is widely regarded as one of the most effective ways for companies to meet their responsibilities under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
These regulations state that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury must be maintained in a safe condition. There are a bewildering range of electrical and electronic products used in industry, with more coming along every day, and it will be impractical for the government guidelines to try to list them all. In the case of an incident, a particular type of equipment having been omitted from the list could cause confusion over whether that particular product was subject to the legislation or not. To make things simpler for everyone, the Health and Safety Executive have published guidance on which types of devices it would be wise to test (and label with PAT testing stickers) on a regular basis in order to demonstrate compliance.
In order to differentiate between different types of appliances, the guidance specifies 7 different ‘categories’ of device based on how they operate. The ‘categories’ listed in the guidance are as follows:
– Fixed appliances
– Stationary appliances
– IT appliances
– Moveable appliances
– Portable appliances
– Cables and chargers
– Hand Held appliances
‘Fixed appliances’ are devices which are fixed permanently in one position. Since these are usually part of the building infrastructure, they don’t fall within the remit of the PAT testing scheme, so don’t be surprised if you fail to find PAT stickers on these devices. It is recommended that most appliances which fall into the other categories be subjected to regular PAT testing, and have PAT test labels fitted.
There are exemptions for certain products when used in low-risk environments, however many companies find that the consistent use of PAT testing stickers raises health and safety awareness among employees, so it may be worth checking these devices anyway. Health and safety executive has also issued guidance on the frequency with which these different categories of appliances should be tested, dependent on how and where they are used.
However inconvenient it may be to maintain accurate records of equipment PAT testing and to arrange retesting when the time comes, it’s certainly easier than dealing with the fallout of an incident where an employee is injured by company equipment. Even if no-one is found to be at fault, simply setting up a testing program and ordering PAT stickers from Label Bar can save a whole lot of trouble. Contact us for more information about PAT testing stationary.