The portable appliance testing (PAT) legislation from The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 assert the duty of care to both the employer and the employee to ensure the safety of an appliance for everyone using the work premises, emphasising the importance of appliance testing.
The Management of Health & Safety at Work legislation states that it is imperative that “Every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessment of:
• The risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst at work
• The risks to ensure the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him or his undertaking.”
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), states that “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”
PUWER comprehends many hazards that can result from using an appliance which does not go through regular testing. Moreover, obedience to the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is expected to comply with PUWER which is only relevant to an appliance which is used at work by workers, including all work appliances. The regulations which are relevant to the safety of an appliance are presented in the Electricity at Work Regulations.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states:
“All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.”
“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.”
“System’ means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment”
“Electrical Equipment’ includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy.”
From a particular portable appliance testing (PAT) legislation it is lucid that there are requirements to test all types of electrical appliances in all work situations. Thus, portable appliance testing is somewhat essential in regards to any health and safety legislation. It has been stated by the Health & Safety Executive that 25% of all reported electrical accidents are a result to portable appliances.
The Electricity at Work Regulations assert legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed people to adhere with legislation and take advised procedures to ensure that there are no hazards from appliances, and this could be done through regular testing. In order to avoid any danger on the property there should be regular maintenance and appliance testing.
The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) applies obligations in testing certain appliances:
• Testing of an appliance used by employees
• Testing of an appliance used in establishments such as hospitals, schools, hotels, shops etc.
• Testing of an appliance which is supplied or hired.
• Testing of a repaired or serviced appliance.
The extent of appliance testing relies on if the appliance becomes faulty, depending on the type of appliance, frequency of testing, the nature of its use and the environment in which the appliance is used.