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In-Service Inspection & Testing of Electrical Equipment

In-Service Inspection & Testing of Electrical Equipment – formerly Portable Appliance Testing, or PAT testing, is relevant to almost every business – yet many employers and business owners do not have a clear and full understanding of the legal requirements. We take a look at our clients’ most frequently-asked questions. 

What is PAT testing?

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is the term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use. 

What needs to be tested?

The term ‘electrical equipment’ includes any item that can be moved, connected or disconnected from an electrical supply. Portable or movable items generally have a cable and a plug. A full list can be found on our website. This needs to list hardwired items such as heaters, hand driers etc as they now form part of In-Service Inspection & Testing Of Electrical Equipment

How often does PAT need to be carried out?

Standard formal visual inspection and PAT testing by a competent person is required at appropriate intervals; frequency of the testing depends upon the type of equipment and the environment in which it is used. For example, a power tool used on a construction site needs to be examined more frequently than a bedside lamp in a hotel room.

What does ‘competent person’ mean? 

Most electrical safety defects, such as cracked plugs or exposed wiring, can be found by visual examination; however, some types of defects can only be found through annual testing by a person with relevant training and experience and certified/calibrated equipment.

SK Compliance conducts portable appliance testing in every kind of commercial and industrial premises. Our engineers operate across Britain, delivering expert service which conforms to IET Code Of Practice for In-Service Inspection & Testing of Electrical Equipment (5th Edition). Our technicians guarantee the following:

•           Appropriate, fully calibrated equipment is always used to conduct the tests.

•           The test equipment is operated correctly on each appliance.

•           Accurate interpretation of the test results is carried out, with a full report     issued.

Is PAT a legal requirement? 

Not specifically, but manufacturers, suppliers, and employers have a legal obligation to ensure the safety and maintenance of electrical equipment. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 outline the requirements for electrical equipment, including portable equipment, and its safe use. 

In addition, the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 apply to portable electrical equipment that may be exposed to a potentially explosive atmosphere. All equipment must meet the appropriate standards to avoid any risks.

Do I need to record PAT testing and label the equipment tested?

You are not required to by law, but it is a good idea. It enables you to monitor the effectiveness of the process and provides proof (if needed) that you are taking the right steps to keep your equipment safe. Additionally, labelling can help remind you when the next test is due.

What does ‘Suitability of Electrical Equipment’ mean? 

It is extremely important to ensure that portable electrical equipment is suitable for the intended task and environment; for example, using mains voltage portable electrical equipment outdoors or in damp, wet or conductive areas is not suitable as it poses a high risk of electric shock. Similarly, most electrical equipment is not suitable for use in a potentially flammable atmosphere, unless specially designed and constructed.

What are the benefits of Electrical Equipment Testing?

Our team of experienced and qualified engineers offer a wide range of electrical compliance solutions, ensuring your equipment and workplace remain compliant with the Electricity at Work Regulations.

  • There will be a formal visual inspection and thorough testing of all types of portable appliances
  • Work is carried out in line with the IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment (5th Edition)
  • We fit around your schedule and work nationwide
  • You will be provided with an itemised report, labelled assets and a certificate
  • Minor repairs are included in your quote

To receive a no-obligation quote or learn more, please contact our Compliance Team at 01427 420 404 or email


The information and any commentary contained within these updates are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal or any other type of professional advice. Stallard Kane does not accept and, to the extent permitted by law, exclude liability to any person for any loss which may arise from relying upon or otherwise using the information contained in these blogs. If you have a particular query or issue, you are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice about your issue and not to rely solely on the information or comments in these updates.
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