Photograph of me PAT Testing a computer.

What's involved when I do PAT Testing

If you engage my services, then virtually all of the 230 volt electrical equipment at your site will be formally visually inspected and instrument-tested for safety. Each item will then be labeled with either a green PASS label or (sometimes!) a red FAIL label. PASS labels identify the PAT Testing Appliance ID (unique for each item inspected/tested by me at the site), the Pass Date, the Next Test Due date, and my contact details. FAIL labels provide the Fail Date and display a clear warning that the item of equipment is not safe and therefore must not be used.

Any item of equipment that fails either the formal visual inspection or any of the instrument tests will be identified with a red FAIL label and brought to the attention of the Responsible Person, this typically being the person that deals with Health and Safety, otherwise the manager, business owner or similar. It is then the responsibility of that person to take appropriate measures to either have the item repaired, disposed of, or otherwise appropriately and safely dealt with. In the case of inexpensive, easily replaceable items such as computer/monitor power cords, extension leads, table lamps, etc., the item is normally rendered unusable and disposed off there and then (with your agreement, of course - no, I don't go around chopping off plugs left, right and center!). Whilst I have no actual authority over your organisation, you need to be aware that if you have in commission any unsafe item of electrical equipment (whether you know it or not), then you are committing a criminal offence, not to mention the risk to "people, animals or property".

If an item passes the combined formal visual inspection and instrument tests, but I have concern over some other aspect of its safety, for example, its suitability for the job for which it is being used, or perhaps the cables placed in a dangerous manner, then a green PASS label will be applied, but the item will be brought to the attention of the Responsible Person to deal swiftly with the issue in an appropriate and safe manner.

I always remove the covers of rewireable plugs to check for fuse rating, wire condition, etc. In fact, this is where I find a lot of faults. I carry a supply of standard three-pin plugs and fuses, all BS/ASTA certified, so if an item of equipment under inspection/test needs either a new plug, the plug rewired or the fuse replaced for it to pass the tests, then this work will be carried out free of charge there and then (many contractors that carry out PAT Testing charge additional for this). I also carry a supply of standard IEC 'computer' power cords: if any of your power cords are found to be faulty, then they can be replaced at cost for just a couple of pounds each (you may already have a few spares so these could be used instead - after testing them though, of course!). I do not undertake any other electrical repairs, as I am not legally allowed or insured to do so.

Detailed test results will be electronically downloaded from my test equipment to my own computer system at my office, and held in the strictest confidence, subject only to possible inspection by the authorities, such as the Health and Safety Executive. I always take several backup copies of this data, in case of loss or damage to the original.

Within a few days after completion of the work, you will receive from me by email three Adobe Acrobat PDF-format file attachments, examples of which are shown below (fictional company) (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view - available here). In the event of a visit from the Health and Safety Executive, for example, you can then produce these document to provide evidence that you are taking positive steps to making sure that your electrical equipment meets the legal requirement of being, in simple terms, 'safe, well-maintained and suitable for the purpose for which it is being used'. I keep copies of these files on your behalf: if you ever loose your copy of any of the files, then I will of course supply you with replacements, free of charge.

A few days later, you will receive in the post a printed copy of the Standard Version of the Test Results and also the PAT Testing Certificate, along with a covering letter providing you with my business details, etc. Also included will be my invoice for the work, payment of which is expected within about one month. I will also contact you around twelve months later to offer you a re-test.

Terms and Conditions/Limitation of Liability

Up until 2012, I had been self-employed, working as an IT consultant/technician for over twenty years. As an IT technician and as a PAT Tester, I have worked on and installed many thousands of computers and other items of electrical equipment, and I have never been responsible for any damage to client's equipment; I don't intend to start now. I have carried out many hundreds of PAT Testing jobs, and have tested tens of thousands of items. When 'PAT Testing', I follow closely the guidelines laid out in The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment. I am fully qualified in PAT Testing: City and Guilds 2377-200: Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment and 2377-100: Management of Electrical Equipment Maintenance (click links to view certificates).

Like most PAT testing operatives working in the field, my insurance cover is limited to damage to client's equipment and to Public Liability, etc. Therefore, it is taken that The Client understands and accepts the following Terms and Conditions before engaging my PAT Testing services, along with the content of the section Practical Limitations, also below:

Practical Limitations

In the workplace, I potentially test all items that have a standard 230 volt three-pin plug attached. However, in rented property, I normally only test the items (with plugs) that are supplied by the landlord. Similarly, in residential care homes, etc., unless directed otherwise, I normally only test the items (with plugs) that are supplied by the care-home owner either for use by the residents or by the staff. This is because personal equipment owned by tenants or residents is not covered by legislation, and is therefore not tested.

Systems such as file servers, mail servers and network switches/hubs etc. will not be inspected/tested by me without the express permission of the client, as this would normally require the shutting down of this equipment.*

I do not unplug and test telephony equipment such as PABX or ISDN boxes, etc. that are supplied by the telephone company (much of this equipment, once installed, should really never be unplugged or switched off).*

Equipment such as video recorders, clocks, central heating system timers, burglar alarms, etc. that loose their programmed memory when disconnected from mains voltage, will (for this reason) only be unplugged and inspected/tested by me with the express permission of the client, and it is the responsibility of the client to arrange for reprogramming of this equipment, if necessary.*

Please make sure that the equipment that you want inspected/tested is on site when I arrive! This is particularly pertinent in the case of laptop computer chargers, projectors, power tools, mobile phone chargers, etc. NB. In the case of equipment that is either powered or charged with a power supply adapter/charger, such as battery hand-held power tools, mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, laptop computers, etc., you only need to supply me with the power supply adapter/charger; I don't need access to the actual equipment itself.

The equipment can only be tested if I have easy access to its plug. If the plug is inaccessible, for example, hidden behind heavy, awkward objects, then unfortunately the equipment will not be instrument-tested.*

I can only test items that have a standard 230 volt three-pin plug attached; electric cookers, water heaters, large built-in radiators, electric heaters, etc. that are directly wired into a fused outlet will not be tested as this would require switching the electricity off at the main consumer unit (something which would inconvenience everyone) and also the dismantling of the fused outlet, something which, like most PAT Testers, I am not qualified, insured or legally allowed to do.*

* Having said this however, I may be able to carry out the important 'earth continuity' test on some of this equipment even when it is switched on and running, providing that there is a spare electric three-pin wall or extension lead socket very close by.

“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger.” The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

“It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.” The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

“Dear Bob, Many thanks for all your dedicated work for us and invaluable help! We will follow the guidance you have given us and appreciate your advice. Look forward to catching up next year! All our very best wishes, Lynda and Robyn.”

I am City and Guilds qualified in PAT Testing, and fully insured.

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