Portable appliance testing (PAT) is well known to most people who own a business; it is the process where all of the portable electric appliances a business owns are tested to ensure they meet high standards of safety.
A PAT test can be performed by anyone with a PAT testing machine; however it is usually advised that the work is carried out by a qualified electrical engineer. The reasons for this are twofold; first is that the work will be completed in a substantially quicker time. Secondly, any repairs that may be required can be organised and dealt with as quickly as possible.
Typically once a PAT test has been carried out on an appliance, a sticker will be placed on its surface to show it has been tested. To supplement this it is important to have a certificate showing the details of testing. These may vary from a simple hand written note to a personalised printed certificate.
The minimum details any PAT testing certificate should contain are:
- The details of the site that has been tested
- An entry for each appliance along with whether it has passed or failed
- Individual re-test dates
- The details of the person or company that performed the test
By keeping a record of all of these details it gives the company or individual the added security of knowing that they are taking precautions to ensure the safety of their equipment. Not only does this make sure equipment runs smoothly and doesn’t hurt anyone, but it can also help in the event of an insurance claim as proof of compliance with health and safety regulations.
Recording all of this on a paper based system can be time consuming for both the person performing the PAT test itself and the owner of the property being tested. When there is a large number of tests to be taken most people will use a tester that can download its information onto a PC or laptop.
By using a computer to store the data it is a lot quicker to create certificates as most can be automatically generated for each site that has been worked on. All of this information is then permanently stored on the PC in case more certificates are required. In addition to all of these factors a huge amount of information can be stored on one computer and recalled far quicker than any paper based system.
The manual production of PAT certificates for the testing company can often be very time consuming; after all, many large sites may have over 3000 appliances to be tested! Time can be saved with a downloadable tester as a huge quantity of professional certificates can be printed exceptionally quickly.
The advantages of a downloadable PAT tester are not limited to just the production of certificates. Many testers come with their own software suite, which can be used to schedule re-tests and manage a range of sites and their appliances.
One of the most popular entry-level downloadable PAT testers is the Europa Plus. This device can store up to 5000 tests and will guide the user through the PAT test, making it perfect for testing a range of small to medium sites. For more rigorous testing many professionals use the Supernova Elite, which is designed for testing sensitive IT equipment and features a modem to allow tests to be remotely transferred to a computer.
Regardless of what technique you use for you PAT testing it can all be for nothing without the correct book-keeping and evidence. This is why it is vital to ensure that you create certificates of testing and keep them safe for at least 2 years.