What is PAT testing?

Portable appliance testing (PAT testing or PA testing) is the process where electrical appliances are routinely checked to ensure they are safe to use. This is achieved by carrying a series of visual and electrical tests.

What are the hazards?

There are many forms of Electrical Hazards with the potential to cause electric shock or fire. Common types of electrical hazard from electrical appliances include:

  • Exposed electrical parts
  • Improper earthing
  • Damaged wire insulation
  • Incorrect fuse size

What are the requirements?

PAT testing regulations requires that all landlords, employers and even self-employed individuals make sure that their portable electrical appliances are safe and are suitable and used for the purposes intended. These appliances should always be maintained properly and remain in good working order.

Although there is no set rule on PAT testing frequency, only that testing should be done regularly to ensure preventative maintenance, however there are recommendations:

  • Offices, Shops and Hotels – Class 1 equipment including stationary and IT equipment should be tested every 48 months. Moveable equipment such as extension leads and portable equipment should be tested every 24 months. Handheld equipment should be tested every 12 months.
  • Schools – All Class 1 equipment in schools should be PAT tested every 12 months. Class 2 equipment should be tested every 48 months.
  • Public Use Equipment – Stationary and IT equipment such as computers should be tested every 12 months. Moveable, Portable and Handheld equipment falling into Class 2 should be tested every 12 months. Moveable, Portable and Handheld equipment falling into Class 1 should be tested every 6 months.
  • Construction – All 110V equipment used on construction sites should be tested every 3 months.
  • Industrial – All industrial sites, including commercial kitchens should have Portable and Handheld equipment tested every 6 months. Stationary, IT and Moveable equipment should be tested every 12 months.

Who should carry out PAT testing?

The regulations deems that any competent person can perform PAT testing by using a PAT instrument or tester. The visual examination of each appliance in addition to the actual PAT test should be performed only by someone who is deemed competent.

According to PAT testing legislation, a competent person is someone who has experience or knowledge of being able to check and test appliances for safety purposes. Those with knowledge of electricity in general as well as anyone who has experience in electrical work can be deemed capable.

Electrical work must only be carried out by competent person who has experience or knowledge of being able to check and test appliances, to avoid danger to themselves and others.

However we would recommend getting a certified electrician to carry out the work to ensure that the work has been carried out correctly.

    Our PAT testing service

    We provide a per item cost for a number of appliances. The per item price can vary depending on the amount of appliances there are to test.

    Upon completion of the portable appliance inspection and testing we will provide a report that details the following:

    • An inventory containing each appliance type, name and location
    • A full set of test results for each appliance tested
    • A full list of any failed items with an explanation of their failure
    • A visible pass or fail label on each appliance detailing the inspection date

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    About the Author

    As a family run business, taking over from his Dad, Chris currently has a Directorship role in the company and occasionally writes posts on the SMT Electrical website. Chris has worked for SMT for over 20 years.


    Prompt, friendly, helpful, great service.
    Dawn Y.
    Dawn Y.
    Friendly team plus quick and efficient service. We used SMT for an electrical safety report on a new property. They carried out the checks and we received the report within days.
    Kirsty B.
    Kirsty B.
    Chris was friendly and efficient.Highly recommended. Will use again. Thanks
    Fab set of guys. Davey is a comic and explains exactly whats happenin mint
    June F.
    June F.
    SMT carried out various electrical works for me. Work was completed to a high standard and with minimal disruption. Would definitely recommend.
    Geoff M.
    Geoff M.
    Consistently good service, they always do a thorough job.

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