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PAT testing, also known as portable appliance testing, is a crucial safety measure that is employed by businesses and other organizations in order to ensure the safety of the potable appliances they use. The likes of construction and electrical installation sites often make use of portable devices and tools that could cause serious harm if they are not working correctly. Safety can be assured by performing PAT tests on all electrical appliances.
Why PAT testing matters
PAT testers in the workplace can prevent tragedy. Workplaces can be dangerous, and companies are obligated to ensure that all workplace safety obligations have been met while also ensuring the physical safety of all employees.
When new appliances and equipment are brought into a workplace, many people may wonder whether or not it is required for them to undergo PAT testing. Should new equipment be tested or left alone?
Do You Have to PAT Test New Appliances?
The general rule from Health and Safety experts is that new equipment requires only a cursory visual inspection to make sure there is no obvious damage and should not require a PAT test as new equipment is legally required to be supplied in safe working condition. However, in the construction industry, it is a legal requirement for all new electrical equipment to be PAT tested.
Elsewhere this is of course ultimately down to the individual discretion of the workplace or individual, and PAT testing is advised for extra safety in the case of particularly hazardous items such as heaters.
Another factor worth considering is the meaning of the word “new”, which may not always mean what it sounds like. New can mean genuinely brand-new equipment shipped direct from the manufacturer, but it can also often be used to describe equipment that has previously been owned by employees prior to being taken into the organization.
Testing any and all ‘new’ appliances allows them to be added onto the register and thus taken into account during inspection time. If this is not done, then you may have no way of knowing or keeping track of the appliances that are in use in your organization.
If you are unsure whether or not an appliance has indeed come directly from the manufacturers and therefore been subject to manufacturer testing, then this is another good reason to perform a PAT test on new appliances.
Some companies may already have policies in place to ensure that new equipment is tested prior to being put into service, so this is often a matter for individual organizations. It may be a good idea to perform a risk assessment to make a decision as to whether this would good practice for your own company. However, in most cases, a user checks to ensure the item has not been damaged in transit is usually sufficient.
It is also a good idea to check your insurance. There are some insurance providers that insist on all equipment in the workplace, including new devices, being PAT tested before they are used.