The number of times I get asked what is the most common item that you fail when PAT testing.
That person usually gets the same answer, it really depends on where we are working…
Items That Usually Fail a PAT Test
In an office the most common thing is the mains cord supplying the computers or monitors, especially if they are plugged into sockets in floor boxes. The reason being all floor boxes have a cut out especially designed so that the cover can be closed and the cable comes out through the cut out. However it is normal for us to see the power cables and the network cables squished by the cover. Sometimes I think people try to stand on them to force them shut. However all this does is cut through the outer casing of the cable and it’s not the first time I have seen the cable almost cut through.
The second most common item that we fail is the kettle, now experience tells us never fail the kettle in a school just before the teachers have their break. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve made that mistake, but at least the bruises have gone now. Teachers get quite upset if they cannot have a cup of tea or coffee while the children are playing outside.
Extension leads are another common failure, especially the older ones, they tend to become brittle and with them being kicked under the desk, it can dislodge or break the internal parts and they rattle, we always fail them as we do not know what has been dislodged inside and whether they are dangerous. Did you know extension leads should only be used as a temporary solution of adding additional sockets, you really should have additional circuits and sockets added by a qualified electrician to ensure the safety of your equipment and business.
So if we move from the office to a building site, then the list of failed items suddenly changes, from the classic, a cable that has been cut through and the builder quickly puts tape around the exposed cables to the drill that has a broken case, probably dropped from the scaffolding, but again taped up. Only a few months ago I was on a building site and was greeted by some of the worse looking pieces of equipment I have ever seen. I could tell that the equipment had not been tested for a few months. On careful inspection, the equipment had not been tested for 2 years which in that time it should have been inspected at least 8 times, or every 3 months which is the recommended maximum timescale. Well this is the first time I have run out of van stock that we use to repair construction equipment. We actually failed over 20% of the equipment we tested, which is quite shocking (literally or could have been). However the client was very happy and we now return to the workshop every three months to carry out the inspections required, but the downside is that we have to start at 5.00am.
So items that usually fail the PAT test, it really does depend on the appliance and the environment it is being used in, which is why everyone should make the effort of checking that the equipment they are using is safe to use by carrying out a simple visual check. If it looks unsafe then don’t use it.
Until next time