What is PAT Testing? | Workplace Requirements & Electrical Classes


Portable appliance testing commonly known as PAT is a routine inspection of some types of electrical appliances. PAT testing ensures that the appliances and the equipment are safe and helps prevent electrical hazards and accidents within a workplace or organization.

PAT testing should be done regularly to document clear and concise records to control and minimize the risk of electrical accidents.

Electrical equipment used in the workplace can become damaged, or faulty, or some parts may deteriorate. This can result due to numerous reasons, and if not identified, can have severe consequences. Therefore, electrical equipment used in the workplace must be maintained in a safe condition to meet the legal requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations.

Is PAT Testing a Legal Requirement?

No, PAT testing is not currently a legal requirement. However, certain legislations state that businesses, workplaces, and their employers must maintain all electrical equipment in a safe working condition.

Some of the current legislation related to the maintenance of electrical equipment in the workplace are:

Health and safety are the major concern for businesses all around the world. And it involves the use of several electrical appliances. This may impose the threat of causing electrical injuries or accidents. Therefore, employers and their staff must follow safety and health regulations to ensure everyone’s safety.

PAT testing is the most effective way of making sure that a business is obeying the legislation. Indeed, it is the most favored electrical testing system. If businesses are unable to comply with the safety law, they can face unlimited fines or even imprisonment.

Although PAT testing is not a legal requirement, it is highly recommended that employers take vital steps to implement control measures to mitigate workplace hazards and risks associated with electrical appliances and equipment. Creating a clear and concise record of information helps businesses demonstrate compliance with the relative electrical safety legislation.

Why is PAT Testing Important?

Current carrying parts are very sensitive. If anything goes wrong it has significant effects on the workplace or life of those carrying out such work. PAT testing, therefore, is important as it ensures the examination of electrical appliances or equipment that are in use. PAT testing process also helps ensure that the equipment is in a safe condition before conducting work.

What PAT Testing Prevents & Detects?

A thorough PAT testing process focuses on the followings:

·Earth Continuity

Earth continuity tests the resistance of the protective earth of the electrical application or the wire. Any accessible earthed part of the appliance will be tested. The earth continuity test is intended to examine the link between the earth pin and the case of the electrical appliance.

·Lead Polarity

Many PAT testing machines come with a lead-testing facility. Firstly, the visual inspection is carried out for any leads, cables, or wires. If the visual inspection is passed then the PAT testing devices are used for that particular item.

The lead polarity test will determine whether the Live or Neutral are connected properly to their respective terminals in the socket.

·Insulation Resistance

The insulation resistance test checks if there is adequate insulation between the live parts of the appliance and the parts that can be physically touched by the users. These tests are usually carried out on Class 1 and 2 electrical appliances and are vital for individuals undertaking such tests to understand the difference between these two classes.

What Appliance Needs to be PAT Tested?

There are numerous types of electrical equipment that require PAT testing:

· Fixed Appliances

This type of equipment is fixed in a permanent location. It may be a merged outlet to which the flex is eternally connected.

· Stationary Appliances

The type of appliances that cannot be easily moved from one place to another like fridges, ACs, and washing machines.

· Portable or Moveable Appliances

As the name tells, these are the devices that can be moved from one place to another easily. These types of items usually weigh less than 18 kg.

· Handheld Appliances

The type of appliances that can be held in hands easily such as electric tools or hair dryers.

· IT Appliances

It is important to test all IT equipment that uses electricity to ensure they are in proper working order.

Types of Electrical Classes

Below are some of the types of electrical classes:

Class 1 (Earthed)

Class 1 electrical appliances are the highest risk and potentially dangerous class. This type of class usually has 1 basic insulation as well as relies on the earth for additional insulation. It is also known as earthed equipment. A fault in the equipment may result in electric shocks. Examples include a kettle, toaster, irons, and electric heaters.

Class 2 (Double Insulated)

Class 2 type also known as double insulated, is safer as compared to class 1. These types of appliances will have additional insulation and do not rely on earth and present fewer risks to individuals.

Examples include hair dryers, straighteners, lamps, televisions, and CD players.

Class 3

Class 3 type appliances are extra low-voltage equipment that includes appliances operated on batteries. Examples include cell phones and digital cameras.

What Workplaces Require PAT Testing?

Almost all workplaces are required to maintain electrical equipment in a safe condition. Every workplace or organization must ensure the safety and health of their employees or anyone who may be affected by their work activities.

PAT Testing Training

When it comes to ensuring and creating a safe workplace for all, employers must also take vital steps to properly guide, educate and train their staff to work competently and safely.

Training like a PAT testing course are ideal to train and equip the staff to make them familiar with the safe use of electrical equipment and appliances.


This post explains in detail what PAT testing is and what are the workplace requirements for maintaining electrical equipment in a safe working condition. It further explains what are some of the categories of equipment that require PAT testing, and why is it important to conduct the tests.


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