Portable Appliance Testing

Why choose us for PAT Testing?

  • Our quotations for PAT testing are clearly priced and competitive.
  • We use the latest PAT testing equipment to test both 230v and 110v appliances.
  • Our PAT testing procedures follow the IET Code of Practice (5th Edition).
  • We get the work done quickly with minimal disruption to your business.
  • A certificate, summary and readings report emailed before we leave site.
  • A Risk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS) are provided prior to attending site.
  • We label appliances with a PASS or Fail, and with a unique ID number.
PAT Testing Plug and Socket
PAT Testing Equipment

What is PAT Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing is better known as PAT testing. It is a process by which electrical appliances are routinely checked for safety. It involves a series of visual inspection and electrical tests. The law requires an employer to ensure that their electrical equipment is maintained to prevent danger.  In addition, businesses are legally responsible for ensuring the safety of employees and the public. PAT testing is one of the simplest and most economical ways to meet this statutory obligation.


Is PAT Testing a legal requirement?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 do not make PAT testing a legal requirement. But it is not as simple as that. They then go on to state that some defects in electrical appliances can only be found by testing. Furthermore, they provide guidance for maintaining portable electrical equipment, including when to test appliances.

Do I have to follow the HSE guidance?

HSE guidance is exactly that, guidance. It therefore has no automatic statutory effect. So, unless there is a law or regulation making it mandatory, you can choose to take other action. To put it another way, failing to follow guidance that isn’t mandatory by law or regulation will not in itself constitute a breach of health and safety law. Employers are free to take alternative action as long as they comply with the law by other means. Following HSE guidance, however, usually ensures that employers comply with the law. Therefore, the HSE and other safety enforcement authorities may, and often do, refer to HSE guidance when taking enforcement action.

Selection of Electric Hand Tools for Pat Testing
Typical Hand Held Tools

What is a Portable Appliance?

Portable appliances are not part of a fixed installation. However, they are connected to a fixed installation or generator via a power lead, plug, and socket. Additionally, it includes extension leads, power leads, and cord sets that supply portable equipment. Their use is like that of appliances because they operate in a similar environment.

Typical Office Appliances for Pat Testing
Typical Office Appliances

Which appliances should be PAT tested?

You should create a risk assessment to determine the likelihood of an appliance developing a fault, and the severity of an accident that could occur as a consequence. There are three key factors to consider when creating a risk assessment. This is the appliance’s class and category, along with the environment in which the appliance is operated. It should be possible to determine which appliances need PAT testing based on the combination of these factors and the guidance provided by the HSE.

The Class

There are two basic types of electrical appliance construction – Class 1 (earthed) and Class 2 (double insulated). You need to consider the type of construction of the appliance when deciding whether PAT testing is appropriate.


Class 1

Class 1 appliances tend to have exposed metal parts. For safety reasons, these appliances have an earth connection. If there is a fault within the appliance, the earth connection is there to prevent an electrical shock. There is a possibility of the exterior of the appliance becoming live if the earth connection is not there. Anyone that touches the exposed metal parts will be in contact with electricity, with could potentially be fatal. As a result, HSE guidance recommends Class 1 appliances undergo PAT testing. This even applies to low-risk environments such as offices, shops, residential care homes, etc.

Electrical Work Equipment
Work Equipment

Class 2

Class 2 appliances are also known as ‘double insulated’ appliances. These maintain safety due to being constructed with extra insulation. It prevents accidental contact with live parts, even if there is a fault. Therefore, they do not have, or need, an earth connection. Class 2 appliances do not need PAT testing in low-risk environments, although they should still undergo user checks and visual inspections. However, Class 2 equipment in high-risk environments such as construction sites and industrial sites should be subject to PAT testing.

Kitchen / Canteen Appliances for Pat Testing
Kitchen / Canteen Appliances


The category determines the likelihood of an appliance developing a fault. The more frequent an appliance is handled or moved, the greater the likelihood it will develop a fault. Until recently appliances were segregated into 7 categories:

 – Fixed appliances

 – Stationary appliances

 – IT appliances

 – Moveable appliances

 – Portable appliances

 – Cables and chargers

 – Hand Held appliances

However, HSE guidance published 2013, reduces the categories to Rarely moved, Occasionally moved, and Hand-held.


How, where, and by whom an appliance is used is probably the biggest factor in appliances developing a dangerous fault. For example, appliances used on a construction site or in a heavy steel fabrication workshop will need much more frequent PAT Testing than appliances in low-risk environments like an office. Similarly, appliances used by the public are at greater risk of damage and therefore should undergo more frequent PAT Testing.

Where can I get a copy of the HSE Guidance for PAT Testing?

To download a PDF copy of Maintaining Portable Electrical Equipment guidance HSG107 (Third edition) free of charge from the HSE website, click here.

To download a PDF copy of Maintaining Portable Electrical Equipment in Low-Risk Environments guidance INDG236 (Rev3) free of charge from the HSE website, click here.

Health And Safety Executive