🕑 6 minutes read
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is a crucial part of ensuring the safety of electrical equipment in various settings, ranging from workplaces and construction sites to private properties and public environments. The process involves assessing the potential risk associated with the use of appliances, including gas inspection. However, while it is necessary to have a certificate proving the equipment has passed the PAT test, it is essential to remember that even professional, highly competent PAT testers can make the odd mistake. Therefore, it is advisable to choose a reputable company or individual with the appropriate qualification and expertise to carry out the testing. With a thorough PAT testing process undertaken by a reliable professional, you can rest easy knowing that your appliances are safe to use.

What are the most common mistakes made, and how are they to be avoided? We understand when time is tight, or the pressure is on, corners can and will be cut. Not a problem for the PAT tester, but what about a contractor on site working with a power tool not fully tested or tested or not tested at all?

What if the earthing on a portable appliance has been overlooked? Without correct earthing or none at all, it can result in an electrical shock! If that person is YOU, your body provides a path for the current flow to the ground! The outcome is an electric shock, electrocution, and even death!
If you’re the person responsible for PAT testing at your company, how would you feel if a colleague was seriously injured or electrocuted due to an oversight, mistake or even neglect on your behalf?
Yes, exactly!

So, be honest with yourself and read the list below and fess up if there are any you have bypassed or only partially tested. Ask yourself a simple question: After you’ve completed the PAT test, would you, without fear or equivocation, feel safe when using the appliance/tool you’ve just tested?
If the answer is NO, do it again!
Thorough testing leads to personal safety. Neglect nothing! (Gra.C)

PAT testing holds particular importance in London, a bustling metropolis with a high concentration of businesses and organisations. However, like any technical procedure, it's easy to make mistakes that can compromise the effectiveness and reliability of the testing process.

In this blog post, we'll explore the top five mistakes people make when conducting PAT testing in London and provide insights into how to avoid them.

PAT Testing London

For Homeowners
To prioritise the safety of homeowners, it is advisable to have all portable appliances tested at intervals of 2 to 4 years. As appliances age, their electrical safety can deteriorate, making it prudent to have them tested to give peace of mind to the user.

For Landlords
For landlords, conducting an appliance PAT test is a serious consideration (a legal requirement) that should be undertaken when there is a change in occupancy or every 2 to 4 years or depending on which occurs first. Landlords must conduct PAT tests on all supplied appliances within rented properties to meet safety requirements and ensure the well-being of their tenants.

5 Common PAT Testing Errors

Forgetting To Switch On The Appliance
Not switching on an appliance before conducting an insulation test can lead to an incorrect pass. Without the appliance switched on, any dangerous voltage leakage to the outer casing cannot be detected. This is why it is essential to measure the insulation resistance in Ohm's and check for any breakdown or deterioration resulting in a reading lower than 1MOhm (Class I) and 2 MOhm (Class II). Portable appliance inspection is an important legal requirement not only in London but throughout the UK. Safety should always be the number one priority for electrical equipment and appliances.

So, never forget to switch your electrical appliance on; it could be the difference between safe usage and a potential disaster.

Only Performing 1 Earth Bond Test
When it comes to electrical safety, there's no room for shortcuts. A common mistake PAT testers make is only doing one earth bond test on an appliance. It's important to remember that some appliances may have multiple outer parts earthed separately, meaning each one needs to be measured individually. This is particularly important for appliances where the risk of electrical fire is higher. Failing to perform thorough inspections and tests can put users at risk and may also have legal consequences.

So, always provide a complete electrical safety service for all appliances.

Neglecting Visual Inspections
As a professional, never forget that visual inspection, as it can end up with severe consequences. While the focus of the testing process is undoubtedly on electrical testing, visual inspections also play a critical role in identifying obvious hazards and potential risks. Physical damage, loose connections, and frayed cords are just a few obvious ones identified through visual inspections. If you see them flag it up in your report!

Only Doing One Insulation Test
Safety should always be a top priority when testing electric appliances. One of the common faults found during inspection is only doing one insulation test! This can be quite risky, as there are multiple areas on a power tool where insulation can break down. From the chuck to the ventilation slots and even the trigger, it's important to thoroughly examine every part of the equipment before deeming it safe to use.

Incorrectly Determining The Pass Level
Failure to accurately calculate the appropriate pass level during PAT testing can arise when appliances are connected to power cables that exceed the manufacturer's specifications. Specifically, when dealing with appliances using longer power cables, the calculation of the pass level differs from those with shorter power cables.

To determine the correct pass level for appliances with longer power cables, one can refer to the PAT code of practice, which provides a calculation method tailored for such cases.

As a homeowner

Do not misinterpret the results
Interpreting the results of the Portable Appliance Test (PAT) requires careful analysis and understanding of the standards and guidelines. Unfortunately, misinterpreting test results is a mistake that can have serious consequences. Incorrectly categorising equipment, misjudging the severity of faults, or misapplying pass/fail criteria can lead to faulty electrical appliances being deemed safe. Stay up to date with the latest electrical regulations, consult serviceteam London if needed.

PAT testing is a crucial process for maintaining electrical safety in London properties. By being aware of the mistakes people make when conducting PAT testing, means you can take proactive steps to avoid them.

How to Choose a PAT Tester?

When seeking a professional electrician in London to conduct portable appliance testing (PAT), it is essential to consider several key factors, such as:

Experience and Expertise
A reputable company with a track record of success and reliability is more likely to deliver comprehensive and thorough PAT testing services.

Qualifications and Certifications
Ensure that the contractor's testers hold relevant qualifications and certifications in PAT testing. Competent and properly trained professionals will perform accurate assessments and provide comprehensive reports.

Compliance and Standards
Verify that the contractor adheres to the latest safety regulations and standards, such as those outlined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Compliance is crucial to avoid legal consequences and ensure a safe working environment.

Insurance and Liability Coverage
Confirm that the contractor carries appropriate liability insurance. This protects both parties in case of any mishaps or damages during the testing process.

Client References and Reviews
Check for client references or read online reviews on platforms like Checkatrade and Trustpilot to gauge the contractor's reputation and level of customer satisfaction. Positive feedback is a characteristic of a reliable and professional service provider.

Response Time and Flexibility
Consider the contractor's response time to inquiries and their flexibility in accommodating your PAT testing schedule. Punctuality and adaptability are essential in minimising disruptions to your operations.

Transparent Pricing
Request detailed pricing information upfront to avoid hidden costs. Choose a contractor that provides transparent and competitive pricing for their services.

These factors will help to confidently select a PAT testing contractor who takes no shortcuts to ensure the safety of your electrical appliances.

PAT testing is a crucial process for maintaining electrical safety in London properties and construction sites. By being aware of the above mistakes people make when conducting PAT testing, you can take proactive steps to avoid them.

Professional PAT Testers

At Serviceteam London, we understand the importance of adhering to safety measures, industry regulations and codes of ethics. As professional PAT testers, our expert team uses advanced equipment to inspect and certify all classes of electrical equipment, including portable devices. We are also well-equipped to perform gas inspections and identify potential risks to ensure a safe working environment for everyone involved. Our certifications are widely recognized and demonstrate our commitment to safety and quality. With Serviceteam, you can trust in the professionalism and expertise of our PAT testers to ensure the safety of your workplace.
Safety is no accident!

Book your PAT tester today!