Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Tests)

What is Portable Appliance Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) entails testing the safety of electrical appliances to ensure that workers or tenants who come into contact with any electrical appliances are not in any risk.

Portable appliances include all equipment that is not part of a fixed installation but is meant to be connected to a fixed installation or generator. Any appliance that uses a flexible cable or plug and socket qualifies as a portable appliance. Electrical defects in most of the equipment can be identified through visual examination while some can only be detected through testing.

Frequency of Inspection

Normally, the environment that the equipment is used, type and nature of operation determines the frequency of inspection and testing. For instance, a power tool used in a carpenter’s site should be examined more frequently than a lamp in a house. Currently in Kenya, we do not have law that state what needs to be done or how often should PAT Testing be done. However, HSE best practice simply requires employers to ensure electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger.

Do you Need to Keep Any Records After Testing?

There is no legal requirement on to labeling or keeping records of equipment that has been inspected or tested. Nevertheless, a record and / or labeling is critical as it acts as a monitoring and management tool that can help in reviewing the effectiveness of existing maintenance scheme.

Do You Need to Test New Equipment?

It’s a common practice that new equipment be supplied in a safe condition and not require a formal portable appliance inspection or test. However, simple visual check is highly recommended to verify the item is not damaged

Can Any Person Conduct the PAT Test?

The person doing testing work needs to competent to do it. In many low-risk environments like small office space, a sensible (competent) member of staff can undertake visual inspections if they have enough knowledge and training. However, when undertaking combined inspection and testing, a greater level of knowledge and experience is needed, and the person will need to have extensive knowledge on the test meters to use, equipment classes and how to interpret the results from measurements.