PAT testing - Legal Requirement

All electrical equipment used in the workplace must be maintained in a safe condition to meet the legal requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations.

“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger”

The Electricity at Work Regulations - Regulation 4(2)

PAT testing itself is not a legal requirement, it is simply a method to identify if such maintenance is required.

The regulations require you to do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect people from harm. This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control that risk. The regulations however do not specify how this should be achieved. PAT testing is the recognised procedure for inspecting and testing electrical equipment to determine whether if it is safe for continued use or if maintenance is required.

Guidance on the procedures for PAT testing are provided by the Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment published by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). Following the Code of Practice is an example of recognised good practice and by doing so you are likely to comply with the regulations.

As well as The Electricity at Work Regulations, other legislation relevant to electrical maintenance includes:

  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992