The number of times I have been told by potential clients that PAT Testing is just a tick box exercise and that they can’t really see the point of having it carried out. Well it’s not until we actually carry out the inspection that the client suddenly has a change of mind and attitude…
Essential Tips for Saving Money on Your PAT Testing
Some of the things that we find on client’s sites are just dangerous and you wonder if they’re actually aware of them. Over the past few working weekends we opened the staff canteen fridge, as part of the visual inspection, to find that the internal shelves were so rusty that, personally wouldn’t dream of putting any food in there for fear of contamination. Although the fridge was electrically safe, and passed the series of tests that we do, you have to ask is it really safe to use? I doubt it.
Another instance was when we were asked if we could do an urgent inspection, evidently the Landlord had an inspection coming up on his property within the next few days. This client was really pleased that we were able to help out. I have to admit I was pleased when I was told by the client that we were the only company that he had approached, who had a positive customer service attitude and actually made the effort to call back with a solution, out of the 6 companies he had called.
Well one of the appliances on this site, that we failed, was the microwave oven, it was so obvious that it was not safe to be used but was still in operation. Why was it obvious well it looked like someone had sat on it and all the top was bent exposing some of the internal wiring, I did actually open the door and well of course it was extremely dirty with various food splatters, but it also had a number of rusting points on the side walls making the appliance rather dangerous.
So PAT Testing is a tick box requirement and an added expense, is it really, no! It is a means to make sure that businesses and landlords meet with the various legislation and the safety of employees, tenants and visitors.
PAT Testing cost can be reduced and here are a just few ideas on how businesses can reduce the PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) bill: –
- Dispose of Unused Electrical Items
Implement a simple disposal policy of all your redundant electrical goods throughout your premises, why test something that is not being used and may never be used ever again. Over the years our experience indicates that the old ‘spare’ printer sitting in the cupboard for an emergency will have a greater risk of being faulty, and you should decide which electrical items are no longer going to be used and discard them in an appropriate.
It may be acceptable to label an appliance no longer in use with a ‘DO NOT USE’ sign firmly fixed to it or even remove the fuse but it would be better to remove from the premises as sure enough someone may just ignore the sign.
- Testing of New Items
Generally, it is accepted that brand new items are classed as safe especially if they come with a manufacturer’s warranty, however it has been known that some appliances have been supplied with counterfeit power supply units and power leads. We have adopted a policy that all new items should be tested and added to the asset register to maintain an accurate listing.
- PAT Testing every year may not be necessary
The current code of practice has specific recommendations for the frequency of Portable Appliance Testing. You may be surprised to know that you may not need all of your appliances tested every 12 months, however this may depend on your own insurance, company policy and of course the working environment.
It is not uncommon for low risk office environments to have a two or even three-year interval between PAT testing. Speak to us if you are unsure.
- Can I do PAT Testing in house?
There is nothing stopping in-house testing as long as the individual is suitably qualified, deemed competent and diligent to the task, however this often causes undue pressure to be put upon that person. Also the test machine should be industry standard and must be calibrated annually. Formal records of the appliances and the relevant tests should also be kept.
- Testing of Extra Low Voltage Items?
Too many times have I seen a laptop or Wi-Fi router with a pass label on, however as these items are considered extra low voltage so they cannot have been tested. Unfortunately, some companies and their testers do test extra low-voltage equipment as standard in order to increase their revenue which has no bearing on the safety of the appliance. If you think you have been a victim of this practice, then please give us a call and we can provide you with some feedback and if necessary a redress course of action.
Some people regard PAT Testing as being a very easy “money for old rope” industry but this could not be further from the truth. As a company our engineers are qualified and have been doing inspections for many years and their experience and knowledge is extensive, they are aware of appliances that could be dangerous before they even test them, more importantly their skill carrying out a visual inspection means that nearly all failures on a client’s premises are found at this point of the inspection and our engineers are always up to date with potential electrical dangers. If you have any doubt about PAT Testing protocol or procedures please get in touch!
Until next time