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Assessing the frequency of Inspection & Testing


The frequency of PAT testing is based on a risk assessment approach. There are no set limits on how often equipment should be tested. However, there is still a common misconception that all equipment should be tested annually, this is not the case.

Factors to consider when carrying our a risk assessment for PAT testing intervals.

Environment - Equipment used in a benign environment, such as an office, is less likely to suffer damage than similar equipment used in an harsh environment, such as a construction site. The risks of using equipment in a wet environment are greater than a dry environment.

Equipment type - Some equipment types are more susceptible to damage than others. For example hand held appliances that are constantly moved and often dropped. Large stationary appliances are rarely moved and less likely to be damaged. An electric shock from hand-held appliances is usually more serious as the fault current is more likely to pass across the heart.

Users - Trained and informed users are likely report damage promptly so hazards can be avoided. Conversely, untrained users, children, and members of the public are less likely to notice and report damaged equipment. For some user groups, such as children and the elderly, the consequences of an electric shock are likely to be more severe.

Equipment construction - The fault protection of Class 1 equipment is reliant on the integrity of the earth connection within the fixed installation. Fault protection in Class 2 equipment is not dependent upon a fixed earth.

Frequency of use - Equipment that is used frequently or is often moved is more likely to suffer damage.

Previous Inspections - Looking at past records of the inspection and testing can highlight the frequency, equipment, and areas where equipment is susceptible to damage.

IET and HSE guidance

The HSE publish guidance on the frequency of testing and a table with suggested initial maintenance intervals in their publication Maintaining Portable Electrical Equipment. Available as a free pdf download here:HSG107

The IET Code of Practice also has a table with the suggested Initial Frequency of Inspection & Testing.

  Formal visual inspection Combined inspection & testing
Offices & Shops
Stationary equipment 24 months 60 months
IT equipment 24 months 60 months
Movable equipment 12 months 24 months
Portable equipment 12 months 24 months
Hand-held equipment 12 months 24 months
Fixed 24 months 48 months
Hotels
Stationary equipment 24 months 60 months
IT equipment 24 months 60 months
Movable equipment 12 months 24 months
Portable equipment 12 months 24 months
Hand-held equipment 12 months 24 months
Fixed 24 months 48 months
Equipment used by the public
Stationary equipment Monthly 12 months
IT equipment Monthly 12 months
Movable equipment Weekly 6 months
Portable equipment Weekly 6 months
Hand-held equipment Weekly 6 months
Fixed 12 months 36 months
Industrial including commercial kitchens
Stationary equipment None 24 months
IT equipment None 24 months
Movable equipment 6 months 12 months
Portable equipment 6 months 12 months
Hand-held equipment 6 months 12 months
Fixed 12 months 24 months
Schools
Stationary equipment None 12 months
IT equipment None 12 months
Movable equipment 6 months 12 months
Portable equipment 6 months 12 months
Hand-held equipment 6 months 12 months
Fixed 12 months 36 months
Construction sites 110V equipment
Stationary equipment Monthly 3 months
Movable equipment Monthly 3 months
Portable equipment Monthly 3 months
Hand-held equipment Monthly 3 months
Table.1 Figures based on the IET Suggested Initial Frequency of Inspection & Testing of Class 1 Equipment