Maintaining portable electrical equipment in low risk environments
May 9, 2012
It is often believed by many businesses that a portable appliance test (PAT) is needed every year, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) state that this is not the case in a low risk environment such as an office. The law simply requires employers to ensure electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger - it doesn't state what needs to be done or how often.
What does the law say?
You must maintain electrical equipment if it can cause danger, but the law does not say how you must do this or how often. You should decide the level of maintenance needed according to the risk of an item becoming faulty, and how the equipment is constructed. You should consider:
the increased risk if the equipment isn’t used correctly, isn’t suitable for the job, or is used in a harsh environment; and
if the item is not double insulated, for example some kettles are earthed but some pieces of handheld equipment, such as hairdryers, are usually double insulated. See page 4 for more information on earthed equipment and double insulated equipment.
This includes any electrical equipment your employees use at work, whether it is their own or supplied by you. You have a joint responsibility to maintain any equipment used by your employees that is either leased (eg a photocopier) or provided by a contractor (but not equipment both provided and used by a contractor). You will need to check periodically if any work needs doing. How you do this
depends on the type of equipment.
The HSE suggests 3 different methods of checking appliances:- user checks, visual checks and combined testing. The following table indicates the suggested intervals between checks.
For further infomation you can view the HSE leaflet here