How to become a PAT Tester

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: January 2017
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Portable appliance testing (PAT testing) is the process of checking electrical appliances and portable equipment using a series of electronic tests and visual inspections.

PAT testers carry out routine safety checks on portable appliances for a wide range of public and private sector organisations, for example schools, office-based firms, and catering, hospitality, residential care and tourist accommodation providers.

Portable appliances include items such as fridges, microwave ovens and dishwashers; IT and office equipment including PCs, laptops, printers, monitors and photocopiers; moveable appliances such as toasters, kettles, welding equipment and hand-held items such as hairdryers, food blenders and power drills.

PAT testing is not specifically required by law, but employers are required under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 to ensure that any work equipment they provide both for employees and sub-contractors and for clients and guests (for example in the case of a tourism accommodation provider) is safe and well-maintained. Professional PAT testing of appliances is considered to be a 'best practice' way to comply with the Regulations.

PAT testers are usually qualified electricians and provide PAT testing as an additional service, although some operate exclusively as PAT testers. Testing services include carrying out visual inspections, checking for damaged flexes and plugs, and making sure appliances are correctly wired. Inspections also include earth continuity tests, earth leakage tests, polarity and insulation tests. PAT testers typically mark equipment with labels and provide their customers with certificates indicating the results of tests. Many PAT testers provide additional services when carrying out testing, such as replacing fuses and re-wiring plugs.

This profile provides information about starting up and trading as a PAT tester. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and the key trading issues. It also explains the legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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