Is PAT Testing a legal requirement?

Managing your electrical equipment is a must. Under the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, you have a legal obligation to make sure that any risks that stem from work-related activities are assessed and managed – and that includes, of course, your portable electrical equipment.

But the buck doesn’t stop there, you’re also governed by the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. Within this legislation, you’re legally required to ensure that ‘any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition’.

What the law doesn’t say though, is what exactly needs to be done, how often it must be done, and who needs to do it.

Reading between the lines

The what

Although the process of PAT Testing itself isn’t a legal requirement, it’s a clear tick in the right box to show that you’re conforming with your overarching legal responsibilities. It gives you complete peace of mind that your portable electrical equipment is fit for purpose, and it provides you with tangible evidence that you’ve taken a proactive approach to minimising workplace risks.

The when

The frequency of your equipment’s checks will vary depending on a number of things, like how often it’s used, the level of potential risk involved and the environment in which it’s used in.

For example, a power tool regularly used across multiple construction sites would need to be checked more often than a toaster in an office kitchen. The reason being that the power tool:

a) Is frequently subject to different surroundings, which may impact how it performs.

b) Carries much more risk, so if something were to go wrong the potential for injury could be far greater.

The who

The person responsible for your PAT Testing work must be competent to do so. By competent, we mean someone who has the right experience, capability and attitude.

While visual electric checks can normally be done by someone with limited knowledge and training, individuals in charge of PAT Testing need:

  • In-depth knowledge and experience
  • The right equipment to conduct the checks
  • To know how to properly use the testing equipment
  • The ability to interpret the test’s results.

If an enforcing authority strikes

Here at Citation Fire & Electrical, we individually label each and every appliance we test and issue you with a certificate upon completing our PAT Testing service – enabling you to easily demonstrate that you’re on top of your legal obligations.

This means that if the worst happens, an accident arises as a result of your electrical equipment and an enforcing authority comes knocking on your door, you can easily prove that you took appropriate steps to prevent it.

As a result, providing the item passed its PAT, the enforcement burden may no longer lie with you. This could save you £1000s of pounds in enforcement action, and protect your business from reputational damage.

The cost of non-compliance

As with any Health & Safety non-conformity, ignoring your portable electrical equipment responsibilities comes at a price.

First and foremost, you’ll put you, your employees, visitors and members of the public at risk, which comes hand-in-hand with reputational, recruitment and retention damages. Not only that, but you’ll be leaving yourself open to potentially unlimited, business-breaking fines.

How we can help

Our PAT Testing service has been designed to give you complete peace of mind.

An experienced engineer will come out and inspect your portable electrical appliances, individually label each item, provide plug and fuse changes, supply you with a comprehensive report and provide you with a certificate upon completion.

Have a question about PAT Testing?

Speak to our customer service team.

0800 055 6559

(Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)


For more information on our PAT Testing service, get in touch with the team today on 0800 055 6559.