Our core business is Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) which often creates a range of different challenges, from the equipment that needs to be tested to the environments that we have to work in …
The Nightmare On PAT Test Street
It’s not the first time we have been in laboratories where the smell was unbelievable or on a construction site where the rain is pouring down and the mud is ankle deep; and that was just the car park!
The past few days have given us a different challenge. Working for a new client, we were greeted by a huge office with workstations for about 80 staff. Generally this would not cause us any concern, but once we started testing we realised that this was the challenge to beat all PAT testing challenges!
Over the years, we have come across various types of office desks. From the standard desk to the all singing all dancing desk with flip up covers to allow access to the cable management and the power blocks.
Now we were faced with desks that had sliding tops which locked, each with a release catch situated on the underside and fitted towards the rear, so we had to reach underneath, release the catch then drag the tops out to allow us access to the cable tidies and all of the cables, plugs and leads.
If you think about it, this all seems very simple. Well, unfortunately for us, it was going to be the most challenging office to complete PAT testing in the designated timescale.
As I said, these desks had sliding tops. Now in normal situations this would have been fine, but they had been situated in such a way that some of the desks were placed up against the walls of the building.First things first. On arrival at site, we made our way from signing in at the security office then on up the stairs with all the test equipment to the main office area. The first priority, of course, is locating the coffee machine. So cups in hand, we headed back to the office and the start of our day which, for most people, was still the middle of the night.
So option 1 was to physically move the desk away from the wall to allow the tops to slide so we could gain access as needed. No matter how hard we tried, it was impossible to move the desks to allow the slide and if we did get the desk to move, every folder, binder and pile of paper over balanced and redecorated the carpet and floor!
Option 2 was to see if we could access the side panel and reach inside to gently pull the leads through the end gap. Of course even if this worked, there were always going to be more problems. Almost instantly, we found that there were old power supply units blocking the access. I say ‘old’ because when we checked, we found that these units were unplugged and designed for old computers no longer in use. Obviously the IT team could not remove these units because they too could not access the cable tidies!
Option 3 was to give up and cry uncontrollably In the corner, but we had only been on site for about 30 minutes!
So, to paraphrase Freddy Krueger, “one, two, Andrew’s coming for you …” and we’re not going be beaten by a few desks! We’ll work around the problem and find a solution, which may include drafting in a few more able bodies to help move the desks, strip out the cables so that they can be tested and then put them all back together again.
It may also be useful to have a conversation with the Office Manager to see if they can remove some of the folders and binders to allow us to do our job a little more easily.
Until next time …Do your office computers and appliances need PAT testing to ensure you comply with your health and safety and insurance requirements? Call me on 0330 6600264 today because even with the most awkward of offices, at FTS Safety Solutions, we’ll always find a way to complete the project on time and within budget!Next week, when we return to the same site, maybe some bacon rolls mid-morning, along with strong coffee on tap will help soften the problem for the team? Here’s hoping, but one thing is for certain, this is one challenge that we will ensure is attacked full on and will be beaten!