PAT TestingElectricity is so dangerous that many different rules and regulations are in place to protect the staff and visitors to commercial premises against electrical hazards. Regular Electrical Maintenance is important to ensure systems are running efficiently and safely.

The running theme of all electrical regulations are summed up as follows:

Preserve the safety of persons and livestock against the effects of electric shock and burns, in accordance with Regulation 130-01; BS 7671:2008 Requirements for Electrical Installations

Protect against damage to property by fire and heat arising from a defect in the electrical installation or equipment.

Key points from the current United Kingdom Electrical Law, Regulations and Codes of Practice are detailed below.:

The Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 puts a duty of care upon both employer (sections 2, 3 and 4 etc.) and employee (section 7) to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self-employed.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state:
“Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of:

(a) the risks to health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst 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”. (Regulation 3 (1))

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 state:
“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”. (Regulation 4 (1))
“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state:
“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger”. (Regulation 4 (2))
“ ‘System’ means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment”. (Regulation 2 (1))c

“Electrical equipment includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy”. (Regulation 2 (1))

Unlike Gas Regulations, there is no legal document stating that electrical equipment must be PAT Tested. However from the documents highlighted above, it is clear to see that companies have a legal duty to make sure that electrical items are ‘maintained so as to prevent danger’.

The accepted method for the Health & Safety Executive and Insurers is to ensure a regular programme of Portable Appliance Testing is in place to reduce risks.