What is PAT Inspection?

A look at what a PAT inspection entails

PAT inspection image by Sarah Perring (via Shutterstock).
Among the components of PAT inspection tests is testing for faulty wiring. Image by Sarah Perring (via Shutterstock).

Making sure your business or property has safe electrics isn’t only good business sense. It is your obligation as an employer or landlord under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. Part of this includes what is known as a PAT Inspection. PAT testing is among the various maintenance services we offer at ST Maintenance.

PAT inspection is a common form of electrical testing in the UK, Australia, Republic of Ireland and New Zealand. Testing may be done in-house by a skilled tester or a third party company like ours. There is no obligation to undertake portable appliance testing as a form of electrical testing. (Though other forms of maintaining safe electrical installations have to be undertaken.) Further information is also available here on why a PAT inspection matters.

What does portable appliance testing entail?

  • User testing;
  • Formal visual inspections;
  • Combined inspections and PAT testing.

PAT testing can be undertaken with three types of PAT testers. One is a basic pass/fail tester which displays a simple PASS or FAIL message through LED lights. They measure earth continuity, insulation resistance and polarity. Advanced PAT testers also include data for protective conductor/touch current measurement, fuse tests, and lead polarity. Computerised PAT testers enable you to upload data to a computer.

What is tested?

  • Earth resistance;
  • Earth continuity;
  • Insulation resistance;
  • Polarity check;
  • RCDs/ELCBs/Safety switches.

Earth resistance shows the resistance offered by the earthing rods with the connection leads. Earth continuity testing entails the use of an ohmmeter which has the measured resistance of the protective earth circuit.

PAT inspection, PAT testing or Portable Appliance Testing?

The above titles all mean the same thing. PAT inspection and Portable Appliance Testing are the most commonly used terms. PAT testing as a term has fallen in popularity, probably because Portable Appliance Testing testing (to use its long hand form) does not make a lot of sense.

ST Maintenance Solutions, 25 January 2017.

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