PAT on the Head

In the heady world of Health and Safety where I spend ny working hours, PAT stands for “Portable Appliance Testing”. In the world of electrical contractors – especially the less ethical ones – it stands for “Licence to Print Money”. Most people seem to have been told that by law, all electrical equipment used in a workplace must be tested annually, using an expen$ive bit of test kit and a highly-trained performing monkey maintenance electrician.

Needless to say, this is one of those myths put about by people who’ve seen the opportunity to make a fast buck or two from people who haven’t got time to check for themselves what the law says. The people who’ve been badly advised aren’t really to blame – if they’re paying for competent advice they’re entitled to expect honest treatment.

What I’m leading up to is that according to the expiry dates on the labels, the electrical equipment owned by my employers is due for retesting – all of it. So I’ve been through the list (it isn’t a short list), and come up with a few items that the test contractor wants to retest this year, that don’t need it – including a number that should never have been PAT tested in the first place. The contractors charge by the item – you could probably have guessed that.

In total – and I promise I’m not exaggerating here – if the contractors had been left to their own devices, they’d have tested 1845 unnecessary items next month. Needless to say, my boss, whose budget covers the tests, is pleased with me :-)

UPDATE: Since I’ve been asked a few questions about PAT, this website has some links to useful information.

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