PAT – Portable Appliance Testing – FAQs


The Health & Safety Executive has a frequently asked questions guide on their website outlining the common myths about portable appliance testing (PAT) and the key facts about the inspection and testing of portable electrical equipment.

What is Portable appliance testing (PAT)?

It is the term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use…

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I’ve been told that, by law, I must have my portable electrical appliances tested every year. Is this correct?

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition.

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How frequently do I need to test my electrical appliances?

The frequency of inspection and testing depends upon the type of equipment and the environment it is used in.

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Do I need to keep records of testing and should I label any appliances tested?

There is no legal requirement to label equipment that has been inspected or tested, nor is there a requirement to keep records of these activities.

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Do I need to test new equipment?

New equipment should be supplied in a safe condition and not require a formal portable appliance inspection or test.

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I have been told that I have to get an electrician to do portable appliance testing work. Is that correct?

The person doing testing work needs to competent to do it. In many low-risk environments, a sensible (competent) member of staff can undertake visual inspections if they have enough knowledge and training.

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I run a tool hire business? What do I need to do and are there additional responsibilities for the person hiring my tools?

It is strongly recommended that equipment suppliers formally inspect and test the equipment before each hire, in order to ensure it is safe to use.

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Is Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) compulsory?

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