Portable Appliance Testing Regulations for Employers
It is a legal requirement for every employer to ensure that workspaces are as safe and as protected as possible from accidents caused by faulty or hazardous use of all electrical equipment and appliances. The most practical and simple method of ensuring that a work place is safe from electrical faults which could lead to employee injury, is by having Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) performed on all electrical appliances in order to meet Portable Appliance Testing Regulations for Employers.
The Portable Appliance Testing Regulations for Employers which make portable appliance testing a vital part of any health and safety plan includes the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989), the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations (1994), the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999).
In the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act, it is stated that:
- “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonable practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
This includes the responsibility for an employer to ensure that there is:
- “The provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees, that is, so far as reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.”
As well as ensuring that any work place is safe for anyone who is employed by your company, the Health and Safety at Work Act extends to self-employed business people as well. The cheapest and most effective manner of complying with potable electrical appliance regulations is to ensure that portable appliance testing has been conducted.
The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) outlines more specific regulations regarding the safety of electrical appliances and equipment and their use in the workplace. Specifically, this legislation includes provisions such as:
- “No electrical equipment shall be put into use where its strength and capability may be exceeded in such a way as to give rise to danger.”
- ‘Electrical equipment’” includes anything used, intended to be used, or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy.”
- “Electrical equipment which may reasonably foreseeably be exposed toa) mechanical damage;b) the effects of the weather, natural hazards, temperature or pressure;
c) the effects of wet, dirty, dusty, or corrosive conditions; or
d) any flammable or explosive substance, including dust, vapours, or gases;
shall be of such construction or as necessary protected to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger arising from such exposure.”
- “Where necessary to prevent danger, every joint and connection in a system shall be mechanically and electrically suitable for use.”
In summary, the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) identifies any piece of electrical equipment in a work environment as having to meet certain safety standards to ensure the safety of any and all users. The most efficient method of ensuring these specifications are met is for portable appliance testing to be carried out by a qualified pat tester.
Further clarification of the responsibility of the employer to provide safe electrical appliances is provided in the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998). This series of regulations specifies that:
- “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided.”
- “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is used only for operations for which, and under conditions for which, it is suitable.”
- “In this regulation, ‘suitable’ means suitable in any respect which it is reasonably foreseeable will affect the health and safety of any person.”
- “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order, and in good repair.”
- “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment, parts of work equipment and any article or substance produced, used or stored in work equipment which, in each case, is at high or very low temperature shall have protection where appropriate so as to prevent injury to any person by burn, scald or scar.”
The rules outlined above clearly show that all electrical appliances, whether portable appliances or stationary, which are used in, or as part of, work need to be regularly maintained, used appropriately, and with safety instructions and precautions supplied when necessary. This emphasises the importance of portable appliance testing, and why there are portable appliance testing regulations at all, as it inspects electric kettles, PCs, Laptops, printers, monitors, drills and photocopiers for any faults and either passes or fails them depending on their individual safety levels.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999) reinforces the aforementioned regulations and legal requirements regarding safety standards by further asserting that:
- “Every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessment of:a) The risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed at work, and;b) The risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking;
for the purpose of identifying the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions…”
All of the legislation mentioned above is a legal requirement for all employers and self-employed business people to comply with. It is vital to any Health and Safety plan compiled for a workspace that Portable Appliance Testing Regulations for Employers are met to ensure that the possibility of accidents due to equipment malfunctions are reduced. The most practical and efficient way of making sure all portable appliances are safe for use in your place of work, Portable Appliance Testing is vital.
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