Frequency of Inspection
How often do I need to test my equipment?
The IEE Code of Practice suggests that the testing frequency is based on not only the type of equipment but the class of equipment and also the location, environment or type of business in which the equipment is used.
Hand held appliances for example are much more likely to be damaged than fixed appliances. Class 1 appliances (containing an earth, i.e. 3 core) have an increased risk of danger as the safety of the appliance is dependent upon the continuity of the protective conductor from the plug to the appliance.
If users of equipment are trained in line with your company’s own Health & Safety Policy / Training to report faults promptly either when they occur or upon visual inspection prior to using the equipment, a large number of potential hazards will be avoided. You can then base your required retest frequency on your own Risk Assessment, which will take this into account, and testing can be done less frequently. Conversely, if equipment is likely to be subject to damage that is not reported and the appropriate action taken, more frequent inspection and testing is required.
If equipment is used in an environment where it is more prone to suffer damage, such as on a building site or other high risk environment, then the testing should be done more often than in an office environment, where the equipment is not subjected to the same adverse conditions.
The safety of a Class 1 appliance is dependent upon a connection with earth of the electrical installation. If the flexible cable is damaged, the connection with earth can be lost. Safety of Class 2 equipment is not dependent upon the fixed electrical installation as Class 2 equipment does not require an earth connection for the purpose of appliance safety.
Many people are under the misunderstanding that new equipment does not need testing. This is not strictly true. Whilst it is true that new equipment should be received from the manufacturer or retailer in a safe condition, it is possible that new equipment has, for example, a power supply lead with reversed polarity or has not had the metal case bonded internally to the earth condicutor of the power supply lead. This does not mean that every time you buy a new piece of equipment, you must carry out full PAT Testing on that item. What you must do is ensure that you have a procedure or policy in place whereby you meet your obligations under the law and/or statutory requirements, i.e. new equipment is purchased from reliable sources, new equipment is visually inspected for signs of obvious damage, and you have a regular frequency that testing is carried out. New equipment can, in most environments and situations, be tested during the “round” of PAT Testing. This may not be the case, for example, if equipment is brought onto your premises which is not “new” but is old equipment that has been brought in by a member of staff or the public – in some cases, this equipment has often proven to be potentially the most dangerous. During a cold spell in winter, for example, an employee may bring in a fan heater from home to take the chill off, but may be introducing a dangerous appliance to your premises.
Recommended Frequency of Inspections and Testing based on the IEE code of practice and our own experience.
|IT||Information Technology Equipment|
|H||Hand Hald Equipment|
|(2)||User checks are not recorded unless a fault is found.|
|(3)||The formal visual inspection may form part of combined inspection and tests when they coincide, and are recorded.|
|(4)||If the class of equipment is not known it must be tested as a class 1 appliance.|
|(5)||The results of combined inspection and tests are recorded.|
|(6)||For some equipment such as children’s rides.|
|(+)||By supervisor/teacher/member of staf|