Is Portable Appliance Testing a legal requirement?
I speak to a lot of companies about PAT testing and it never ceases to amaze me how many have previously been lead to believe that it is a legal requirement to be PAT tested every year – this simply is not the case!
However, PAT Testing is increasingly required by insurance companies on an annual basis before a commercial or business policy is issued or renewed. This is because over 1,000 electric shock incidents are being reported to the Health & Safety Executive every year – some fatal. As a result, more and more companies are now making annual PAT Testing part of their electrical equipment Health & Safety regime.
Electric shock can seriously injure or kill and is just one hazard that electrical safety legislation is intended to protect against.
Legislation simply requires the responsible person or duty holder to ensure that their electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger. It does not say how this should be done, or how often.
The IET Code of Practice for the In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment (4th Edition), can be used to prove negligence under current legislation in the event of an electrical appliance related accident where a suitable safety regime is either not in place or inadequate.
Portable Appliance Testing can be an essential part of a Health & Safety regime and in fact, PAT Testing is probably the most cost effective and widely recognised method of testing an preventative maintenance program for satisfying obligations under electrical safety legislation.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
This act puts a duty of care on both employers and employees, “to ensure the safety of all persons using work premises”, including the Self-Employed.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
This regulation states that, “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 Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
This regulation states that, “every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided”.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
This regulation states that, “every employer shall make a suitable assessment of; (a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed while they are at work, and (b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking”.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
This regulation states that, “every employer shall ensure that the workplace equipment, devices and systems are maintained and where appropriate, equipment, devices and systems shall be subject to a suitable system of maintenance”.
The Housing Act 2004 (England and Wales)
This act requires Landlords to ensure that, “rented residential properties are subject to risk assessment in order to provide a safe and healthy environment for any occupiers or visitors and this includes electrical equipment”.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
This regulation requires landlords providing electrical equipment as part of a tenancy, “to take reasonable steps to ensure that the appliances are safe”.
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