During PAT testing there are many health and safety precautions to be considered. For health and safety reasons it is crucial the PAT testing area has maximum safety which means the designated area should be clearly defined. Also, the PAT testing area should be kept clear for health and safety reasons, whilst taking into consideration the area is accessible. Health and safety in relation to PAT testing is highlighted in Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 which stresses the importance of the equipment being dead, unless suitable precautions are considered which should be identified in the PAT testing assessment area to assure protection as well as safety.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) published a booklet specifically on health and safety in relation to PAT testing: Safety in Electrical Testing at Work General Guidance, this contains information on how to minimise injuries during electrical testing. The booklet consists of essential health and safety guidance which is essential during PAT testing. It is possible for injury and death to occur whilst PAT testing if live electrical parts are exposed and/or touched, which is why it is crucial that health and safety regulations are complied with. The most dangerous injury whilst PAT testing is electric shocks, including both customers and the individual PAT testing.
Dr John Powell, Head of HSE’s Engineering National Group states “Electrical testing accidents can affect both the knowledgeable and the uninformed person. At one time, some 33% of all electrical accidents and fatalities were due to unsafe testing. Although the figures have improved, we all need to do better.”
Whilst PAT testing at a house the qualified contractor should abide by some of the following health and safety precautions:
• A PAT tester should assess whether the site is a safe working environment to undergo electrical testing
• Consider creating a temporary barrier to ensure health & safety for others in the same building at the time of PAT testing
• Allow ample space to work in to prevent an electrical shock, thus, maintaining health & safety
• Assure others in the house are aware of the dangers arising from PAT testing work and kindly ask for children and pets to be kept away from the area of testing
• Keeping health and safety regulations in consideration at all times by not leaving electrical appliances unattended when it is in a dangerous condition, e.g. exposed live conductors