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Health & Safety Consultancy, Information & Management

What does the Health and Safety Executive say about Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)?

How expensive will it be to maintain my electrical equipment?

How often do I have to check my portable appliances?

"It's a myth that all portable electrical appliances in a low-risk environment, such as an office, need to have a portable appliance test (PAT) every year.


The law simply requires employers to ensure electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger - it doesn't state what needs to be done or how often."

How do you  go about ensuring portable electical equipment is properly maintained?

•  Encourage employees to look at the supply cable to the electrical equipment before they use it (user check)


•  Encourage employees to look at electrical equipment before they use it (user check)


•  Make sure that all portable equipment is visually inspected at initial intervals which could be between six months and four years, depending on the type of equipment.


•  Arrange for equipment that is not double insulated to have a portable appliance test (including leads) at initial intervals which could be between one and five years, depending on the type of equipment


•  Ensure that damaged or faulty equipment is recognised, removed from use without delay and either: repaired by someone competent or disposed of to prevent its further use


•  Review your maintenance system to determine whether you could decrease or increase your inspection and/or testing intervals. You may find it useful to keep records of all inspections and tests, and to label equipment with the result and date of the test

The HSE have produced  a useful guidance with suggested initial intervals for checking portable electrical equipment.


Click on the table below for a closer look:

Portable Appliance Testing Guidance

If you work in low risk environments such as offices, shops, hotels and residential care homes. can help you with your Portable Appliance Testing by:


•  Carrying out your PAT requirements


•  Training you or your staff to implement your own PAT regime

Cost-effective maintenance of portable electric equipment can be achieved by a combination of:


Checks by the user


These should be carried out before most electrical equipment is used, with the equipment disconnected.  Click on button below for guidance on what Employees should look for:




Visual inspections 


To carry out a visual inspection you don’t need to be an electrician, but you do need to know what to look for and you must also have sufficient knowledge to avoid danger to yourself and others.


Simple training can equip you (or a member of staff) with some basic electrical knowledge to enable you to carry out a visual inspection competently. Click on the button below on what to look for:





Portable Appliance Test (PAT)


A portable appliance test does not need to be carried out by an electrician, but greater knowledge and experience is needed than for inspection alone, and the person performing the test must have the right equipment for the task.


They should know how to use the test equipment and how to interpret the results. For further information click on the button below.

User checks
visual inspections


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