Portable Appliance Testing - is it law?
How often does portable appliance testing need to be carried out?
What types of appliances need testing?
Could I, or one of my employees, carry out Portable Appliance Testing
Wouldn't it be cheaper if I have one of my employees carry out Portable
What range of experience does ElectrAtest have?
How much will it cost?
Are there any additional costs?
We have 1000's of bits of equipment. Does this mean that we get reams
of worthless paper that takes ages to manage?
Appliance Testing - is it law?
A. No, however, it is a statutory requirement and many
insurance companies require the insured to comply with
all current regulations. This includes the Electricity
at Work Regulations 1989, which state that "As may be
necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained
so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable,
such danger" (Regulation 4(2)). "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)).
The responsibility on the employer to ensure work equipment
is safe is also covered by The Provision and Use of
Work Equipment Regulations 1998. This 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." (Regulation 4(1)). This includes
all work equipment (fixed, portable or transportable)
connected to a source of electrical energy."
Q. How often does portable appliance testing need to be carried out?
A. Frequency of testing depends on the type of equipment
and the environment in which it is used. The frequencies
we recommend are based on the guidelines by the HSE,
IEE and our own experience.
Q. What types of appliances need testing?
A. Basically, any type of equipment, which is powered
by electrical energy.
The IEE Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and
Testing of Electrical Equipment states that this Code
of Practice covers:
An appliance of less than 18 kg in mass that is intended
to be moved while in operation or an appliance which
can easily be moved from one place to another, e.g.
toaster, food mixer, vacuum cleaner, fan heater.
Equipment (sometimes called Transportable):
This is equipment, which is either: 18 kg or less in
mass and not fixed, e.g. electric fire, or equipment
with wheels, castors or other means to facilitate movement
by the operator as required to perform its intended
use, e.g. air conditioning unit.
This is portable equipment intended to be held in the
hand during normal use, e.g. hair dryer, drill, soldering
Stationary Equipment or Appliances:
This equipment has a mass exceeding 18 kg and is not
provided with a carrying handle, e.g. refrigerator,
This is equipment of an appliance, which is fastened
to a support or otherwise secured in a specified location,
e.g. bathroom heater, towel rail.
Appliances/Equipment for Building in:
This equipment is intended to be installed in a prepared
recess such as a cupboard or similar. In general, equipment
for building in does not have an enclosure on all sides
because on one or more of the sides, additional protection
against electric shock is provided by the surroundings
e.g. a built-in electric cooker.
Technology Equipment (Business Equipment):
Information technology equipment includes electrical
business equipment such as computer and mains powered
telecommunications equipment, and other equipment for
general business use, such as mail processing machines,
electric plotters, trimmers, VDUs, data terminal equipment,
typewriters, telephones, printers, photo-copiers, power
The use of extension leads should be avoided where possible.
If used, they should be tested as portable appliances.
It is recommended that 3-core leads (including a protective
earthing conductor) be used.
standard 13 A 3-pin extension socket-outlet with a 2-core
cable should never be used even if the appliance to
be used in Class II, as it would not provide protection
against electrical shock if used at any time with an
item of Class I equipment.
length of an extension lead for general use should not
exceed the following:
Core Area Maximum Length
1.25mm2 12 metres
1.5mm2 15 metres
2.5mm2 25 metres*
2.5mm2 cables are too large for standard 13 A plugs,
but they may be used with BS EN 60309 industrial plugs.
maximum lengths are not applicable to the flex of an
appliance, for guidance refer to paragraph 15.13 (IEE
Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing
of Electrical Equipment)
extension lead lengths do exceed the above, they shall
be protected by a 30 mA RCD manufactured to BS 7071."
Q. Could I, or one of my employees, carry out Portable Appliance Testing
A. Yes, however, you would need to ensure that any person
who carries this testing out is competent to do so.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 guidance on
Regulation 4(3) state that: "The operation, maintenance
and testing of electrical systems and equipment should
be carried out only by those person who are competent
for the particular class of work. " This is covered
by the IEE Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection
and Testing of Electrical Equipment which states: "Those
carrying out inspection and testing must be competent
to undertake the inspection and, where appropriate,
testing of electrical equipment an appliances having
due regard to their own safety and that of others.
tester must have an understanding of the modes of electrical,
mechanical or thermal damage to electrical equipment
and appliances and their flexes, which may be encountered
in any environment.
must include the identification of equipment and appliance
types to determine the test procedures and frequency
of inspection and testing. Persons must be familiar
with the test instruments used and in particular their
limitations and restrictions so as to achieve repeatable
results without damaging the equipment of appliance.
importance must be stressed of recording inspection
and test results, labelling and reporting to managers
for action on defects, trends or changes in their assessment
Q. Wouldn't it be cheaper if I have
one of my employees carry out Portable Appliance Testing?
A. Although you may believe that purchasing your own
Portable Appliance Test instrument and having in-house
staff carry out the portable appliance testing may be
more cost effective, there are several factors to bear
in mind. Firstly, you would need to ensure that the
requirement of competence is met, which will undoubtedly
involve expenditure in training. Secondly, you need
to purchase the equipment and the software, and gain
the expertise in its use. We find that many companies
who have tried to carry out testing in-house also take
more time to do the testing as the staff generally only
do this as part of their job, and do not have the experience
to minimise the disruption factor in shutting down equipment.
There may also be a tendency to "pass" appliances that
may present a potential hazard, as it would mean taking
the appliance out of commission.
of our test engineers are trained to meet the current
recommendations. This is our core business and we firmly
believe that we can carry out the Portable Appliance
Testing at your premises in the most cost-effective
manner, whilst our experience and unique systems minimise
the disruption to you and your staff.
Q. What range of experience does ElectrAtest have?
A. In 2004 alone, we have carried out in excess of 1 million tests on appliances of all types throughout the UK.
Our experience covers virtually the entire range of
business sectors including: Residential and Nursing
Care Homes, Schools and Colleges, Health Care (Health
Centres, Dental Surgeries and Laboratories), Engineering
and Construction Industries, Authoritative Bodies, Office
based Administration Centres, Manufacturing Companies
and Retail Shops. We have even carried out Portable Appliance
Testing for the HSE (Health & Safety Executive).
Q. How much will it cost?
A. Our pricing is based on a cost per appliance. Price
list is available with our information pack, which you
can request by completing the Enquiry Form on this website or click here and simply fill in your contact number and name and an ElectrAtest representitive will call you back.
Q. Are there any additional costs?
A. The only additional costs are for the supply and/or
fitting of materials or minor repairs to appliances
so that they pass the testing, e.g. new plug top, correctly
rated fuse, rewiring plug top etc. These are detailed
on our price list.
Q. Why ElectrAtest?
A. We believe that we can offer you, the potential customer,
an unrivalled service, in quality and ability that will
minimise disruption to your day to day operations whilst
ensuring that you, and your staff, are working in the
safest environment possible.
Q. We have 1000's of bits of equipment. Does this mean that we get
reams of worthless paper that takes ages to manage?
A. No. With our unique ElectrAvu software management
programme we can supply all your test results and appliance
register to you either on floppy disc, or by email direct.
You can even add notes to each appliance so if it goes
offsite for repair or is serviced you can keep track
of such information.
This electronic data can be provided instead of or in
addition to hard copies of reports, which are produced
as standard, and sent from ElectrAtest Head Office following
completion of testing. These reports include a full
Appliance Register, Fail Certificates (if applicable)
and Pass Certificates, and are bound into a folder for
ease of reference. You will also receive a covering
hse.gov.uk - The
Health & Safety Executive
- The Institution of Electrical Engineers