Nearly every premises that we attend to complete our core business of portable appliance testing, have some sort of kitchen appliances and, of course, some of them even have a microwave oven …
PAT Testing Everyone Forgets The Microwave Oven
Microwave ovens provide a convenient and safe way of heating and cooking a variety of foods and liquids. These appliances are more commonly used in areas such as staff rest rooms and kitchens found in the workplace, but are occasionally used for a limited number of operations (e.g. melting, defrosting and heating of certain solids or liquids) within a laboratory environment.
“Faults can occur and unless periodically tested they may become a hazard without you being aware!”
So we offer our customers – to compliment the PAT test – the option of the additional service of having a ‘Microwave Leakage and Interlock’ inspection. This inspection and testing of the unit involves the measurement of the radiation levels around the oven using a microwave detection instrument to ensure compliance with the 5 mW/cm2 limit.
The lack of cleanliness and poor maintenance of the door seals can lead to leakage levels in excess of the recommended limit. The safety interlock switches and the door seals are inspected for any signs of damage to ensure that they function correctly and safety.
Despite the convenience a microwave oven has, if it is not looked after properly, it can become a hazard when in use. Basic checks should be carried out by everyone prior to using an oven whether at home or at work. Can you remember the last time you did this?
These checks tend to be things that go unnoticed, but can be the cause of your microwave oven failing a PAT test and causing serious harm to you. However it is not a requirement for domestic appliances to be checked, but the next time you are in your kitchen, it will be worth checking the following before using your microwave:
Hygiene – Is it clean? Many people forget to wipe down the insides and door of a microwave after it’s been used. This can mean food gets lodged into the ventilation grills which can cause it to malfunction.
Does the door close properly? If it is damaged in any way, if the seals are cracked or broken or if the hinges are loose, do not use. It may appear safe to use, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is.
Is there sign of damage or rusting? Remember when a microwave oven is used we are warned not to use any metal edged plates or foil containers. The reason being this can cause sparks when in use. Recently one company could not understand why we were failing their oven due to excessive rusting, until I showed them the sparks created by the rusty metal – frightening!
Although we carry out these checks during a PAT test for businesses, they are basic things you should be looking out for yourself at home. If you find your microwave isn’t in a very good condition, the easiest thing to do is not use it.
“Instead, get it looked at or repaired by a qualified person!”
Would you like to know more about Portable Appliance Testing for your premises? PAT Testing is our core business and you should call us on 0330 6600264 or click here to ping over an email to arrange your free site inspection.
Until next time …