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PAT Test: Effectively Prevent Electrical Accidents

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PAT testing stands for “Portable Appliance Testing” and helps every business using any type of electrical equipment reduce the risk of failure and therefore lower the chance of a fire. The test includes a visual inspection of the equipment and any flex cables for goodness, and, if required, verification of ground continuity, as well as testing the integrity of the insulation between cables, current-carrying parts, and any exposed metal that may have come into contact.

Electrical faults are known to be one of the more common causes of non-residential fires in the UK, so it’s important to know what to test for in your business. While there is no specific legal requirement that PAT testing should be performed, several regulations cover the need for certain sites to meet safety laws – including the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

Why take a PAT test?

In 1989, the United Kingdom issued relevant regulations for electrical systems and electrical equipment. Before electrical equipment is used, it must be tested and regularly maintained to prevent electrical accidents. In addition to this, one of the most obvious benefits of PAT testing is the safety of the workplace and employees. By performing these tests, you will be able to determine which equipment is working properly, which needs repair, and which needs to be replaced. Regular testing will help detect any potential problems early, saving lives, time and money. Committing to regular PAT testing is also great for insurance companies. If they know your premises are as safe as possible and all your appliances are regularly inspected and tested, that can save you a lot of money on insurance.

Which programs require a PAT test?

There are 3 types of PAT tests, namely full test, insulation test and no test. At the same time, it will also decide what kind of test needs to be carried out according to the category. The categories are as follows:

  • Stationary appliances
  • Fixed telephone
  • IT appliances
  • Mobile appliances
  • Portable Appliances
  • Cables and Chargers
  • Handhold Appliances

For the convenience of people in various industries, we have provided a list of common items that may require testing in different industries.

Construction site

There are many hand-operated appliances on construction sites that require regular testing to ensure their integrity:

  • Power tools (cutters, drilling)
  • Power cable
  • Charging system
  • Refrigerator
  • Oven
  • Heater
  • Illumination

Office

Most of the office is the computer mobile phone, charger and various documents, the items to be tested are as follows:

  • Computer
  • Copier
  • Printer
  • Electric heaters
  • Kettle
  • Extension board
  • Micro-wave oven
  • Refrigerator

Hospital

Hospitals receive many patients every day, and their equipment needs to be highly accurate and functional:

  • Computer and monitor
  • Television
  • Defibrillator
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Pump and various high-precision instruments and equipment

Storehouse

Warehouses are places where goods are stored. The most important thing to pay attention to is to prevent electrical fires, so as not to cause the storage to be burned:

  • Telephone
  • Printer
  • Portable tool
  • Charging cable
  • Extension cord

School

Many schools now have modern equipment in every classroom for students to learn:

  • Projector
  • Computers and Monitors
  • Printer
  • Packing equipment
  • Air conditioner, fan

Testing method

There are different test methods for different projects, namely grounding resistance test, grounding continuity test, insulation resistance test, leakage test, etc.

Ground Resistance Test:

This test shows the resistance provided by a ground rod with attached leads. Various test instruments are available for earth resistance testing. Ground resistance should be less than 1Ω.

Ground Continuity Test:

The measured resistance of the protective grounding circuit of the equipment or the grounding conductor of the extension cord or equipment cordset shall not exceed 1Ω.

  • Use an ohmmeter to generate a reading
  • Use the PAT tester under the following conditions:

Maximum 12V, test current range from 100mA to 200mA—commonly known as ground continuity test or screen test;

Maximum 12V, test current 10A—commonly known as routine test;

Maximum 12V, 1.5 times the rated current of the electrical appliance or 25A, commonly known as type test or combination test.

The choice of which test to use is at the operator’s discretion, as each test has its advantages for a given situation. The latest battery powered model testers are limited to “screen tests”. Older power supply units can do all the tests. The purpose of the high current test is to simulate a fault situation: if a live part comes into contact with grounded metalwork, the ground conductor should be able to carry enough current to blow the fuse and make the appliance safe without the ground conductor itself being burned. On the other hand, this test may damage some equipment (especially IT equipment) because grounding is for functional purposes only and does not imply safety.

Insulation resistance test:

Leakage current test at rated voltage. This is done by applying a nominal voltage to the live conductors of the device and placing a 0 volt reference on the device’s grounded part or on an external metal part. The disadvantage of insulation resistance testing is that the DC voltage will not activate the electromagnetic switches or internal relays that are common in many modern power tools such as computers and TVs.

Leakage test:

If the device under test must be energized to control the opening or closing of the circuit, a leak test must be performed.

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