How Frequently Should I Test?

Frequency of Testing

The underlying principal for frequency of testing is that the duty holder (i.e. the person with the equipment “within their control”) with the advice of the test company and or competent person, when necessary must assess the need for testing the equipment against the following:

  • The environment – Equipment in a benign environment is likely to suffer less damage than equipment in an arduous environment.

  • The users – If users report damage promptly hazards will be avoided. Conversely, if any equipment is likely to receive unreported abuse, more frequent inspection & testing is required.

  • The equipment construction – The safety of Class 1 equipment is dependent upon a connection with earth. Class 2 equipment is not dependent upon a fixed earth.

  • The equipment type – Appliances that are hand-held are more likely to be damaged than fixed appliances.

Re-test frequency can be as long as 4 years and as little as 3 months and sometimes before use (hire equipment) the overwhelming majority of business’s and organisations base their test regime on an annual test (depending on equipment requirements) as the most practical and safe approach to their testing program.

The following table provides guidance on the initial frequencies of inspection & testing as per the Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment and our own experience. However, the frequency must depend upon the factors listed above and should be kept under constant review.

Type of Premises Type of Equipment Note I User Checks Note Class I Class II Note 4
Formal Visual Inspection Note 3 Combined Inspection and Testing Note 5 Formal Visual Inspection Note 3 Combined Inspection and Testing Note 5
Industrial including Commercial Kitchens S
IT
M
P
H
weekly
weekly
before use
before use
before use
None
None
1 month
1 month
1 month
12 months
12 months
12 months
6 months
6 months
None
None
3 months
3 months
3 months
12 months
12 months
12 months
6 months
6 months
Equipment used by the public S
IT
M
P
H
Note 6+
Note 6+
Note 6+
Note 6+
Note 6+
monthly
monthly
weekly
weekly
weekly
12 months
12 months
6 months
6 months
6 months
3 months
3 months
1 month
1 month
1 month
12 months
12 months
12 months
12 months
12 months
Schools S
IT
M
P
H
weekly+
weekly+
weekly+
weekly+
before use+
None
None
4 months
4 months
4 months
12 months
12 months
12 months
12 months
12 months
12 months
12 months
4 months
4 months
4 months
48 months
48 months
48 months
48 months
48 months
Hotels S
IT
M
P
H
None
None
weekly
weekly
before use
24 months
24 months
12 months
12 months
6 months
48 months
48 months
24 months
24 months
12 months
24 months
24 months
24 months
24 months
6 months
None
None
None
None
None
Offices and Shops S
IT
M
P
H
None
None
weekly
weekly
before use
24 months
24 months
12 months
12 months
6 months
48 months
48 months
24 months
24 months
12 months
24 months
24 months
24 months
24 months
6 months
None
None
None
None
None
 

Notes

1.

S Stationary equipment
IT Information technology equipment
M Movable equipment
P Portable equipment
H Hand-held equipment

 

2. User checks are not recorded unless a fault is found.

3. The formal visual inspection may form part of the combined inspection and tests when they coincide, and must be recorded see 7.2b.

4. If class of equipment is not known, it must be tested as Class 1.

5. The results of the combined inspections and tests are recorded see 7.2c

6.For some equipment such as children’s rides a daily check may be necessary.

+supervisor/teacher/member

 

Equipment Class types

Electrical appliances are differentiated by a series of IEC protection classes. In PAT Testing, it is essential for the person PAT Testing to know the difference in classes and therefore what checks must be completed before declaring the item electrically safe.

Class I – Single insulated wiring, which requires an earth connection. There is no symbol for a Class I product so if a rating plate has no symbol on it then it is usually Class I.

Class II – Double insulated wiring, therefore, no need for an earth lead. Class II is indicated by double box.

Class III – These are appliances that are supplied at a low voltage (usually called Safety Extra Low Voltage) which must be less than 50V. These appliances are supplied with a transformer supply that is also marked.

Other

Class 0 – Non-earthed metal appliance with two core cable. Sales of these items have been banned since 1975.

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