Unnecessary portable appliance testing (PAT) is costing office-based businesses an estimated £30m a year, and we want your help in ensuring they get a fair deal.
With the support and input of NAPIT, we’ve published revised guidance that will help you give the right advice so businesses and PAT practitioners can make informed decisions about PAT.
It’s a myth that every item needs to be tested once a year, but misleading advertising by some companies offering testing services is contributing to low-risk businesses such as offices, shops and hotels paying for over-the-top maintenance regimes.
The law simply requires an employer to ensure that electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger – it does not state that every item has to be tested or how often testing needs to be carried out.
Testing appliances can contribute to an effective maintenance regime, but in low-risk environments most dangerous defects can be found simply by checking the appliances for obvious signs of damage such as frayed cables.
The NAPIT Group’s Technical Director Frank Bertie commented:
“Although there are there are ‘rogue’ companies who exploit business owners into carrying out unnecessary appliance testing, Portable Appliance Testing is still a critical part of any maintenance regime to inspect and test any electrical appliances and equipment so as to ensure the safety of employees, other work-related persons and public safety where appropriate. NAPIT members can guide you through the requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations and create a Portable Appliance inspection and testing program to ensure the continued safe use of electrical equipment. A guide to the safety checks that business owners should carry out before and after Portable Appliance Testing can be provided.”
The revised guidance is in response to Professor Löfstedt’s independent report on health and safety legislation which said that the legal requirements concerning maintenance or electrical appliances was “applied to widely and disproportionately” resulting in costly over-compliance with the law.
We are pleased that HSE Chair Judith Hackitt launched the guidance and the Association of British Insurers supported it in our press release.
Reclaiming health and safety from the myths is dependent on all those with an interest promoting a sensible and proportionate approach to it. If you have any comments about this article or can think of ways of spreading our messages to low-risk businesses let us know
To access the guidance ‘Maintaining portable electrical equipment in low-risk environments’see http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg236.pdf and for some helpful Q&As visit www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/faq-portable-appliance-testing.htm
napit,association news,electrical industry,e-lec.org,