What is the frequency of PAT testing?
The IEE code of Practice recommend that the frequency of PAT testing depends on the type of equipment, location, and the environment in which the equipment is used.
Frequency of PAT testing in regards to equipment type:
Hand held appliances are much more likely to be damaged than fixed appliances. Class I appliances (containing an earth) have a higher risk of danger because the safety of the appliance depends on the continuity of the protective conductor from the plug to the appliance.
Frequency of PAT testing depending on users:
Users of the equipment should be trained in line with the company’s Health & Safety Policy. If employees are trained on being able to report faults when they occur or inspecting faulty looking equipment, this will reduce the frequency of PAT testing. The frequency of PAT testing will then depend on a Risk Assessment (focusing on dangerous risks which have the potential to cause harm). With a Risk Assessment the frequency of PAT testing will be reduced. On the other hand, if appliances are more likely to be subject to damage then the frequency of PAT testing is increased.
Frequency of PAT testing in regards to the environment of the appliance:
If an appliance is used where it is more likely to be damaged, for example, a construction site, the frequency of PAT testing should increase.
Frequency of PAT testing and equipment construction
Protection of a Class I appliance depends on the connection with earth of the electrical installation; if the cable is damaged then the connection with the earth may be lost.
Frequency of PAT testing with new equipment
Many people assume that the frequency of PAT testing for new equipment is very rare. New equipment may have, for example, a power supply lead with reversed polarity or has not had the metal case bonded internally to the earth conductor of the power supply lead. Therefore, it is suggested that new equipment is purchased from reliable sources and the appliance is visually inspected for signs of damage. Appliances which are brought onto the premises by a member of staff from home could be more dangerous because the appliance is being brought onto the property by an unreliable source.