PAT testing is required by employers, landlords and self-employed people to ensure safety. But how frequently can be a difficult question to answer. Some companies will tell you it’s every year. But we’ve got some cost saving advice for you. This isn’t what the law states.

The Health & Safety Executive provides no set rule on PAT testing frequency. Only that PAT testing should be done regularly to ensure preventative maintenance. The precise frequency depends on a number of factors:

  • The risk level of the environment.
  • Who will be interacting with the electrical equipment (e.g. The general public/employees).
  • How often is the equipment used? Equipment that is used more should be tested more frequently.
  • And finally, the type of equipment in question is a major factor in determining PAT testing frequency. Handheld appliances are more likely to become damaged than those that are stationary. Class 1 appliances carry the greatest risk of danger and should be tested more often.

For example, in more dangerous environments, or public areas, equipment is more likely to be accidentally damaged and become a serious hazard. Office environments, on the other hand, are much less risky than a construction site where hand-held, potentially dangerous equipment is used on a daily basis.

To simplify, we can break down PAT testing environments and their risks into five distinct categories:

Offices, Shops, Hotels & Nursing Homes (Considered low risk)

These environments are considered low risk. Portable appliances in the office environment are rarely moved, and therefore, less likely to be damaged.

In well-run offices, employees are reminded to check over their equipment. Regular visual inspections are ideal for making sure that the portable appliances are safe for use.

PAT testing must be still be carried regularly, but the time between tests is much longer than it would be in dangerous environments.

The Phaze Electrical PAT Testing Frequency Guide: Stationary and IT equipment should be tested every 48 months. Moveable equipment such as extension leads and portable equipment should be tested every 24 months. Handheld equipment should be tested every 12 months.

Schools (Slightly Higher Risk)

School kids aren’t known for their attention and care of appliances. Given there’s a whole load of them using the appliances on a regular basis in a school, the chance of damage to that appliance is increased dramatically.

PAT testing in schools must be completed much more frequently. The dangers and legal ramifications of exposing children to faulty appliances could be extreme.

The Phaze Electrical PAT Testing Frequency Guide: All Class 1 equipment in schools should be PAT tested every 12 months. Class 2 equipment should be tested every 48 months.

Public Use Equipment (Medium Risk)

If you’re the owner of any type of environment that is open to the public, you’re liable to make sure that any appliances they use are safe for use.

Such examples would include electrical training machines at gyms, and arcade game machines in bowling alleys or pubs. These kinds of appliances must be constantly maintained to make sure they aren’t a danger to the public, and regular PAT testing is a great way to ensure you’re doing the right thing.

The Phaze Electrical Rough Guide: Stationary and IT equipment such as computers should be tested every 12 months. Moveable, Portable and Handheld equipment falling into Class 2 should be tested every 12 months. Moveable, Portable and Handheld equipment falling into Class 1 should be tested every 6 months.

Industrial (High Risk Factor)

This part of the risk assessment covers factories, workshops, and commercial kitchens.

In these environments, people are often working on a tight schedule and interacting regularly with a wide variety of different appliances. As a result of this appliances are often damaged much more regularly, which in turn means the PAT testing procedure must be carried out more often as well.

The Phaze Electrical PAT Testing Rough Guide: All industrial sites, including commercial kitchens should have Portable and Handheld equipment tested every 6 months. Stationary, IT and Moveable equipment should be tested every 12 months.

Construction Sites (Extremely High Risk)

Construction sites are so dangerous, equipment is often only capable of working with 110V, meaning there’s a drastically smaller chance of dangerous electrical shock.

The harsh environment of construction sites, the dust in the air and the general wear and tear placed on appliances can damage them significantly, so PAT testing in these environments must be completed much more frequently than in other environments.

The Phaze Electrical Rough Guide: All 110V equipment used on construction sites should be tested every 3 months.


 

Precise Frequency of PAT Testing

How often do things need to be tested exactly? The following tables are sourced from the IET Code of Practice and should give you a clear idea of how frequently you should be performing PAT testing.

Offices, Shops, Hotels and Nursing Homes

TEquipment Visual Inspections Inspection and Testing Visual Inspections Inspection and Testing
Class I Class II
Stationary Every 2 years Every 4 years Every 2 years None
IT Every 2 years Every 4 years Every 2 years None
Moveable Every Year Every 2 years Every 2 years None
Portable Every Year Every 2 years Every 2 years None
Handheld Every 6 Months Every year Every 6 Months None

Schools

Equipment Visual Inspections Inspection and Testing Visual Inspections Inspection and Testing
Class I Class II
Stationary None Every Year Every Year Every 4 Years
IT None Every Year Every Year Every 4 Years
Moveable Every Term Every Year Every Term Every 4 Years
Portable Every Term Every Year Every Term Every 4 Years
Handheld Every Term Every Year Every Term Every 4 Years

Equipment Used By the Public

Equipment Visual Inspections Inspection and Testing Visual Inspections Inspection and Testing
Class I Class II
Stationary Every Month Every Year Every 3 months Every Year
IT Every Month Every Year Every 3 months Every Year
Moveable Every Week Every 6 months Every Month Every Year
Portable Every Week Every 6 months Every Month Every Year
Handheld Every Week Every 6 months Every Month Every Year

Factories, Workshops and Commercial Kitchens

Equipment Visual Inspections Inspection and Testing Visual Inspections Inspection and Testing
Class I Class II
Stationary None Every Year None Every Year
IT None Every Year None Every Year
Moveable Every Month Every Year Every 3 Months Every Year
Portable Every Month Every 6 months Every 3 Months Every 6 months
Handheld Every Month Every 6 months Every 3 Months Every 6 months

Construction Sites

Equipment Visual Inspections Inspection and Testing Visual Inspections Inspection and Testing
Class I Class II
Stationary Every Month Every 3 Months Every Month Every 3 Months
IT Every Month Every 3 Months Every Month Every 3 Months
Moveable Every Month Every 3 Months Every Month Every 3 Months
Portable Every Month Every 3 Months Every Month Every 3 Months
Handheld Every Month Every 3 Months Every Month Every 3 Months

As can be seen, the time between tests varies dramatically depending on the type of test, and the location the testing will be taking place in.