PAT testing is a crucial part of maintaining electrical items, with even appliances such as kettles posing a big risk to health and safety if they are not functioning correctly. People can be placed at serious risk if regular testing is not carried out.
What are PAT tests?
PAT is an acronym for the portable electronic appliance, with a PAT test evaluating the safety of these items and ensuring the quick identification of any faulty devices so that they can either be repaired or replaced.
PAT testing lessens the likelihood of accidents resulting from faulty electrical appliances such as electric shocks and burns while providing protection to wider electrical systems by making it less likely that such appliances will trip or cause a series of electrical circuits to fuse and potentially cause damage to other items.
When should PAT testing be carried out?
While there are no legal guidelines in regard to the use of PAT testers, there are unofficial rules regarding how often certain electrical devices should be tested. PAT testing has three different classifications of electrical appliances.
Class I refers to earthed appliances where insulation and an earth connection protect users with the likes of fridges, microwaves and toasters. Class II is a double-insulated appliance with two layers of insulation but no earth connection such as computers and plastic power tools. Class III refers to separated lower voltage items where a low-voltage provider gives power to an appliance.
In addition to the classification, there are a number of other factors that need to be considered in regard to the frequency with which PAT testers are used on a device. Appliances that are used several times a day by multiple users will require more frequent testing than items that are only used on an occasional basis.
The frequency with which items are moved is another factor. This is even more important with more complicated or bigger items as movement could result in damage and lead to electrical faults. Appliances that are often being moved will need to be checked more frequently.
Another factor is the tasks the appliances have to carry out. Electrical items that never move and are just turned on and off are less likely to have faults while handheld tools that carry out manual tasks are more likely to get damaged or wear out sooner.
The interaction between the user and the appliance is another important factor. Handheld appliances are more likely to cause harm because of the direct contact between the user and the appliance, while a stationary item is less likely to cause direct harm. Appliances that are frequently moved and handled by the user will need more frequent testing.
Appliances that have a history of faults such as frequent malfunctions and breakdowns or have a very specific shelf life also need to be tested more often.
The environment in which the appliance is used is also relevant. The environment is unlikely to cause damage to household appliances, but those in construction or industrial workplaces are more at risk and therefore more in need of regular PAT testing.
It is crucial to understand the recommendations and considerations associated with PAT testing in order to determine the frequency with which devices are tested. Find a range of PAT testers at RS today.