When renting a commercial property, many of your responsibilities as a tenant will depend on what has been stipulated in your lease. Your landlord may take responsibility for certain things like maintenance of communal areas and emergency lighting inspections, but when it comes to PAT testing, this is unlikely to be included.
Who is Responsible for PAT Testing in a Rented Office?
As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of anyone working for you. This includes making sure the equipment that employees use is safe. Items like: desk phones, computers, printers and even the kettle all need to be tested and inspected to make sure they are safe for use. Many business owners are confused as to whether or not they are obliged by law to have this equipment PAT tested. The short answer is no, BUT you are legally responsible for the safety of your employees and visitors to your premises. Should there be an incident involving an electrical appliance, you would be required to provide evidence that the equipment in question was safe to use. In fact, many insurance companies will stipulate that PAT testing must be done as a condition of your insurances, and again, will ask for evidence of this should there be an incident involving electrical equipment at work.
In theory, you could buy an appropriate PAT testing machine, pay for an employee to sit the relevant training, pay them the time it takes to complete the testing and relevant paperwork and ensure the records are kept up to date. You will also need to ensure the person conducting the PAT Testing satisfies the requirements of “Competency”. This is neither the most efficient nor cost effective way of ensuring the safety of your electrical appliances! To look at it another way, we are legally obliged to submit a tax return every year, we could do it ourselves but a mistake could result in penalties or fines, so we pay a professional accountant who knows what they are doing! The same principle applies here.
So, as a business owner renting office space, as far as the law is concerned, it is your responsibility, not that of your landlord, to ensure all electrical equipment is safe for your employees to use and you provide a safe environment for visitors to the business.
If you would like a free site survey to make sure you are compliant with current safety legislation, give us a call on 0330 6600264 or email us at [email protected]