PAT testing is not a legal requirement, but it is the best way to check that all portable electrical equipment is in a safe condition, and also to comply with the various electrical and safety regulations summarised below.

The Electricity at Work Regulations place a legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the regulations and take reasonably practicable steps to ensure that no danger results from the use of such equipment. This in effect requires the implementation of a systematic and regular program of maintenance, inspection and testing.

The Health  & Safety at Work Act (1974) places such an obligation in the following circumstances:

 

The Legal Requirements for the Inspection and Testing of Portable Electrical Appliances.

The legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance is :-

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 puts the duty of care upon both the employer and the employee to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self employed.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work  Regulations 1999 state: "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 whilst at work, and
(b) the risks to ensure the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him or his undertaking."

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 state: "Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for which it is provided."
The PUWER 1998 covers most risks that can result from using work equipment. With respect to risks from electricity, compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is likely to achieve compliance with the PUWER 1998.
 PUWER 1998 only applies to work equipment used by workers at work. This includes all work equipment (fixed, transportable or portable) connected to a source of electrical energy. PUWER does not apply to fixed installations in a building. The electrical safety of these installations is dealt with only by the Electricity at Work Regulations.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state:
"All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger."
"As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger."
"'System' means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment"
"'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."

Landlords’ Guide to Electrical Safety



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