”What do you mean?” I hear you say. Well, in every industry, there are always one or two (or more) companies who do not take their job seriously. Recently, having attended a Health and Safety exhibition, I was shocked to hear of two ‘strange’ practices relating to PAT Testing …
Yes, that’s right. Using built-in secret infrared technology, the engineer simply points the PAT Testing machine at an appliance and diagnoses any faults within seconds! Oh, if only it was as easy as that, my life would be much simpler.”Apparently, technology has advanced so fast that I missed it!”The first strange practice that I found interesting (and if only it was possible to carry out a test this way) was to take what looks like a handheld PAT Testing machine and just point it at an appliance.
Please remember that 90% of all failed appliances are found at the visual inspection, which means a competent engineer should check the plug, fuse, cable, casing and, of course, the environment where it is being used.
Once all those visual checks have been completed, the engineer should plug the appliance into a PAT Testing machine and then carry out a series of connected tests! Only then will the appliance be passed or failed. You can’t just wave a machine in the general direction and find out if it’s safe or not!
The second practice – and for me, the most frightening – is that a new Smartphone App has apparently been developed which, by waving the phone over the appliance, the engineer will be able to pass or fail the said appliance!
No, no, no, no, no! This isn’t – and never will be – possible! In both of these instances there is no such technology available that lets you remotely test something and as I mentioned above PAT Testing of an appliance is a two stage process. Firstly we visually inspect it then we plug it into the PAT Testing machine for physical tests.
The problem here is that clients do not understand that this type of testing is not possible, so are led to believe that their equipment has been tested by both a competent engineer and also to the recommended standards as set by the Code of Practice.
“Let me assure you that they haven’t been PAT Tested at all!”
Please understand, cheap PAT testing may not be PAT Testing at all. Certainly, in the instances described above, the methods used are just ‘smoke and mirrors’, relying on the client’s lack of understanding to pull a fast one.
Every industry has their rogue operators right? Ours is no exception! Unsafe electrical equipment could be putting your staff, clients and yourself at risk of electric shock and possibly even death.
We all know this; it’s why companies engage a PAT testing service in the first place. So please, please, please, make sure the company conducting these vital safety checks are doing more than waving a device in the general direction of the appliance!
A similar situation arose for us last week. Having attended a client’s premises, we were asked to carry out the testing of their Microwave Ovens. I starting to check the first oven by carrying out a leakage and interlock test. Then I went on to check the microwave’s heating power using a thermometer and a specific amount of water.
While doing this, the staff member escorting me was looking a little perturbed and told me “the last lot never did any of that Andrew!” My response was, “well this is what we do to meet with the relevant British Standard.” Be wary of fast, cheap, Microwave testing. At best the test hasn’t been done right – at worst, it hasn’t been done at all.
Think about the last time you had your offices PAT Tested:
- Were you surprised at how cheap the quote was?
- Did it seem like the ‘engineer’ was in and out really quickly?
- Did they give each appliances a good visual check?
- Did they physically plug each item into a PAT Testing machine?
- Did they even have a PAT Testing machine with them?
If you’re unsure about any of your answers, you may be in danger!
FTS Safety Solutions conduct all health and safety testing to the recommended levels or legal requirements, we don’t charge by the hour, we charge for the service. Whilst we don’t dawdle, we are thorough!
Call me on 0330 660 0264 and let’s arrange a no obligation site survey or click here to send over an email and I’ll be in touch as soon as I can.
Until next time …
PS. FTS Safety Solutions is a member of the PAT Testing Network who are a professional association for practitioners. We are trying to raise standards, Improve our reputation and educate customers in what they should be getting for their money.