Home > FAQs > Portable Appliance Testing FAQ

1. Why do you need to test your appliances?
2. Who is responsible?
3. Who can inspect and test our appliances?
4. Which Appliances need to be tested?
5. How long will Portable Appliance Testing take?
6. Does the equipment need to be unplugged?
7. What are we protecting ourselves from?
8. Do we need to keep any records?
9. Will there be any disruption to our business?
10. How often should my appliances be tested?
11. What about electrical equipment brought to work by staff?
12. What about new equipment?
13. Is it safe to test Information Technology Equipment?
14. How do we know when our appliances need to be tested?
15. What happens if an appliance fails a test?
16. Are there any special requirements for hired equipment?

Q1. Why do you need to test your appliances?

A. The Law requires that all electrical equipment at work must be maintained to a safe standard.

You can be prosecuted for not complying with the Law and fined up to £20,000 in a Magistrates court per each offence, unlimited fines and even imprisonment in a crown court.

Insurance claims may be reduced, delayed or even refused should the cause of the claim be discovered to be a faulty appliance that has not been maintained. Insurance companies make the assumption that the insured business is complying with all the regulations applicable.

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Q2. Who is responsible?

A. Regulation 3 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 recognises a responsibility (control) that employers and many employees have for electrical systems.

“It Shall be the duty of every employer and self-employed person to comply with the provisions of these Regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his control.”

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Q3. Who can inspect and test our appliances?

A. The electrical inspection and testing of appliances should be carried out by a qualified trained engineer that has received two formal City & Guilds level 3 qualifications in addition to the formal training for the use of the testing equipment used.

All the engineers at Test It Electrical Services Ltd hold these qualifications to ensure that they are more than competent to manage your testing programme.

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Q4. Which Appliances need to be tested?

A. Any electrical equipment that is plugged into the main electrical supply becomes part of your electrical system, which is covered by the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

Generally all equipment that is plugged into a mains supply via a plug 110V / 230V and three phase.

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Q5. How long will Portable Appliance Testing take?

A. Testing times can vary based on the location of the equipment, access to the equipment and the number of appliances that require testing.

The average time to perform a correct portable appliance test is between 5-6 minutes per appliance with given access. It is therefore possible to test 100 appliances per day.

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Q6. Does the equipment need to be unplugged?

A. All equipment that requires testing will need to be disconnected from the mains supply in order to receive a full combined Inspection and Test.

We are aware that many IT server rooms have to remain constantly powered from the mains supply and therefore we will only provide a Formal Visual Inspection for this type of equipment and connecting leads.

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Q7. What are we protecting ourselves from?

A. It is true to say that electrical equipment can go wrong, be faulty or become damaged and can lead to serious consequences. It is important to have a system of regular inspection and test to help prevent the following:

  • Electric Shock
  • Fires
  • Burns
  • Explosions

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Q8. Do we need to keep any records?

A. Records of maintenance and test results should be kept throughout the working life of the equipment to enable the effectiveness of maintenance policies to be monitored.

Without effective monitoring duty holders cannot be certain that the requirement for maintenance has been complied with.

In the event of a claim records of maintenance and test results would be required by the Health and Safety Executive and/or an Insurance Company as proof of compliance.

Test It Electrical Services Ltd provides a complete Testing Records Pack to clients on the completion of the testing programme.

Records are also held on our central database so that we have a comparison of the present test results with those taken earlier to monitor any deterioration. We can therefore produce a not found register should yours have been misplaced.

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Q9. Will there be any disruption to our business?

A. Testing requires that the equipment is unplugged from the mains supply and that there is clear access to the equipment under test.

Test It Electrical Services Ltd pre-arranges the testing programme so that the testing times will suit your business hours.

Testing can be pre-arranged with each site before the testing date to enable minimum disruption during the testing programme. Quieter days shut down periods or even testing out of hours is available.

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Q10. How often should my appliances be tested?

A. The Frequency of testing is based on several factors detailed in the IEE Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.

Factors include the equipment type, the equipment use, the environment and the users of the equipment.

Test It Electrical Services Ltd carries out annual contracts for Inspection and testing. The code of practice however recommends a more frequent routine of testing for places such as construction sites and public venues etc.

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Q11. What about electrical equipment brought to work by staff?

A. All appliances brought on to site for either personal use or work should be tested to make sure that they are safe to use and added to the companies Appliance Register. Examples would be radio’s, toasters and fan heaters etc.

Some public buildings such as Libraries often refuse appliances (such as laptop’s) being brought on-site without the proof of a Portable Appliance Certificate.

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Q12. What about new equipment?

A. All equipment on site should be tested even if it is still under warranty.

Equipment and leads can be mass produced and can appear to be working fine even though a hazard could be present. An electrical test will show any invisible faults that are present which can lead to danger.

It is not uncommon to see queue’s of people returning new faulty electrical branded goods back to leading named stores.

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Q13. Is it safe to test Information Technology Equipment?

A. We have been trained and use the very best Portable Appliance testing equipment available to test any electrical equipment or appliances.

Our equipment provides special tests for information technology and sensitive electronic equipment to prevent any damage.

These tests are often referred to as ‘soft tests’.

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Q14. How do we know when our appliances need to be tested?

A. If Portable Appliance Testing is something that you have not yet done or you have no traceable records from a previous owner, then there is no time like to present to arrange it. Call us now on 08451 303 319 to make sure that you are legal and safe from harm.

Test It Electrical Services ltd provide a full management service, reminding our clients by email or phone when the next test is due.

Use our contact form to arrange an apointment now.

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Q15. What happens if an appliance fails a test?

A. Equipment that fails a test should be immediately taken out of service to prevent any danger.

If the equipment that has failed requires a minor repair to make it safe, then these appliances can be repaired on-site and then retested. An example would be to rewire a plug that has exposed live conductors showing.

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Q16. Are there any special requirements for hired equipment?

A. Equipment that is on hire should also be tested to show that it is safe.

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