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PAT Testing

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by conny, 17 Jun 2020.

  1. conny

    conny

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    Quick question. My wife is Operations Manager for a company that places caretakers in abandoned properties until new tenants can be found.
    If these caretakers take in their own electrical equipment such as toasters, microwaves etc do they need to be PAT certified? If they do can a supervisor take an on line course to qualify as a tester and then be issued with a test machine?
     
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  3. Mottie

    Mottie

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    Not sure on the taking in of own equipment - my wife got told off when she took a fan heater into her office. They are also not allowed to bring phone chargers in. That is the NHS though. As to the pat testing, as far as I know you don’t need a qualification to do pat testing. I bought a machine myself years ago to test the stuff in my workshop. Labels can be bought online and you just have to test regularly and record your findings. Does someone carry out a risk assessment before the caretaker goes into the property? The pat testing should be a part of that risk assessment I would think.
     
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  4. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    PAT for the caretakers' equipment is very much required to ensure that it is safe to be used. Don't know about online courses but no massive reason why not.
    Until the company has got its internal testing sorted, get contractors to do it

    EDIT Liability is with the building owner/operator to ensure the electrical system is safe to use- this liability extends to all equipment connected to that system. So a caretaker plugs in a knackered toaster and gets an electric shock- thats your problem.

    EDIT 2. Stop calling it PAT testing- I know it flows better and makes more sense than PAT or PA testing but it is irritating.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jun 2020
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  5. crystal ball

    crystal ball

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    Company policy surely, some places I go require require PAT for power tools some don't TBH not many do
     
  6. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Inspection and testing of in-service electrical equipment (referred to as PAT testing) needs varying skill depending on what it is, the boiler is still in-service electrical equipment, so often service contracts are taken out on the more complex bits, in real terms it's a watch my back exercise as often the firm contracted only attend when the item has stopped working.

    There is no legal requirement for stickers saying items have been inspected and tested, all the HSE needs is for a safe working environment, and to be frank class II items i.e. no earth connected, have very little that can be tested, a visible inspection is really all that is required.

    So it may be what you need is some training for the caretakers, as with all health and safety you need some thing in writing, nearly every place I have worked has tool box talks, the idea is some one who has been trained passes on the information to other workers, so a sheet saying what has been talked about, and a list of signatures so for example you can show the HSE how the caretakers have been shown how to test sockets are safe using a plug in socket tester, and know what to do if it shows as not being safe.

    When in university they had people employed to do inspection and testing of in-service electrical equipment, one of the items was a PLC which is an electrical item we were being taught to use, it does not matter what it did, and they fitted a sticker saying it had passed, as part of our training we had to list any possible dangers, and the PLC had a flip up lid to get to live terminals, reading the instructions from manufacturer it stated this item should be fitted inside a lockable cabinet, so technically using them as we were doing as a stand alone unit did not comply for ordinary persons, however we were not ordinary persons, so there was nothing to stop us using them, however when we had a visit from schools then there was a problem, and it caused a problem when we pointed this out.

    So when doing inspection and testing of in-service electrical equipment, the environment, including status of people changes if we can pass of fail a piece of equipment, so a radio with a fig of 8 lead (referred to as lead set) would pass in an office, but fail in a car wash, because there is too much water in a car wash. This is common sense, but you need to show the caretakers have common sense.

    It is some times unbelievable what lack of common sense some people have, like using a phone on charge while sitting in the bath, it does not matter if mobile phone PAT tester and charger PAT tested, they are not designed for use in the bath, so it is the caretakers that need training, like any other worker. So trained how to recognise class I equipment and having class I tested is a good policy, but simply having some one test everything is not enough.

    I had to attend a tool box talk from a safety officer, he stated we should not use anything until PAT tested, and there is never an excuse for breaking this rule, if you look around this office he says, you will see a label on every electrical item. Me being a cantankerous so and so I said no there not, very quick inspection and only around half the items have test labels. Answer was show me, which I did, every lead set because it can be unplugged and moved from computer to computer should have its own label, but they didn't, so it was clearly not a real problem, they had all been tested with the computer or printed they were plugged into, however he had said if we find something without a label stop using it immediately, so following his own rules, he should have closed down the offices until all lead sets have been tested and labels affixed. He clearly could not do that.

    So you need some common sense, if the kettle in the property fails, you can't really say sorry no pop noddles until some one can test new kettle.

    The big problem with people using their own equipment is the equipment register, we should be able to show the HSE a list of all electrical equipment in use, clearly items which are moved around that is hard to keep track, and we had a code PO in front of the equipment number to signify private owned.
     
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  7. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Similar event where the officer's laptop with a PowerPoint presentation did not have a PAT label on its power supply.
     
  8. conny

    conny

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    Thanks for the replies guys.
    All sorted now. 2 supervisors are taking an on line course to bring them up to speed, (they are both quite electrical savvy but not qualified), and 2 test machines ordered for later this week. Only basic ones, nothing to complicated like downloading facilities and massive memory storage etc. They will keep hand written records in a book stating Location, Appliance Desc, Appliance Ser No, Test Date, Renawal Date, Pass/Fail, Signature

    Regarding RA's these are done before caretakers are allowed in the property and this was one of the things highlighted by the new RA guy.
    All electrical installations are certified by the owners to be in date. We are talking companies that own these premises, not individual landlords for houses. All property is either commercial or industrial.

    You will notice I didn't. I have the same beef. ;)
     
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  9. ericmark

    ericmark

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    I think @Mottie comment about risk assessment is a good one, as to @oldbutnotdead comment as to building owner being responsible yes seen court cases about that, missing earth and faulty heater brought into house by tenant, so yes the property would need testing for gas, electric in the same way as any tenant unless you can show the caretakers are trained. As to PAT testing or Inspection and testing of in-service electrical equipment, the latter is a bit of a mouth full, and we are not testing a public address system (PA testing) so it may be portable appliance testing testing (PAT testing) but in real terms all items need testing even if not portable so really we have to call it PAT testing even if not technically correct.

    However inspection and testing of in-service electrical equipment does include boiler, immersion heater, washing machine, etc. So it does need pointing out that PAT testing is not the correct phrase.

    As to the training required for some one using untested premises not sure, the boiler in the premises I work in clearly needs testing, it has a 10 year ticket and once expired you can't use it, but as far as I am aware it is the insurers who select the boiler inspector, so when we hired a boiler, even when it had been just rebuilt and inspected before it was hired, it had to be stripped down and re-inspected by the firms insurers before use.

    OK this was a real boiler not just a water heater, but I would think the same would apply, it is likely down to the insurance company as to what needs testing.
     
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  11. ericmark

    ericmark

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    @conny comment noted, I know were I work, many items are given to the company, by the people working there, it is a heritage railway, so I can give the railway a load of spanners then use them on the railway, but I can't officially bring in my own spanners.

    If we look at some thing simple like a hammer, if it belongs to the railway, if there are chips on the head, or damage to the shaft, they can destroy it or quarantine it. But they don't have that option if not owned by them.

    So if I take in a tool I am breaking the rules, so if as a result I am injured, then the railway can say you broke the rules, so we did all we could to protect you, it's your fault.

    So likely kettle, toaster, or other items will have to be donated to the company for the company to be able to ensure tested and insured.

    I could take a sandwich toaster into work, get it tested, find it had stopped working, take it home, repair it, and return it to work, at which point it needs testing again, so it becomes a problem if employees are allowed to use their own equipment.

    Years ago when I become an apprentice my dad took me to a tool emporium and kitted me out with tools, that was normal in the early 70's, but today that is rarely done, the apprentice is provided with tools and PPE.
     
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  12. conny

    conny

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    The caretakers have to inform us if they buy a new piece of equipment and give us the details. This is held in a central log with their name and appliance and if it gets damaged in the course of their work it is replaced for them by the company. They have to produce the old unit and we then dispose of it, though if it is something silly, like a frayed electrical cable, it is repaired and returned. From this week it will be repaired and tested before return.

    I should say, all these caretakers are self employed and not employees of the company so, technically, I suppose they should be responsible but the company owner wants to cover his back as much as possible as he has been asked by clients about this PAT side of the business. As they use the services of quite a number of these contractors it is much easier to do it this way than to rely on their word that everything is safe.

    Regarding you own tools in work, where I work now I took in a small terminal screwdriver that I am comfortable with, as the one they supplied me with was small and knobbly. I was told to stop using it until the H&S lady had examined it and given me permission to use my own one. This was duly noted in my personal tool register.
     
  13. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    I worked for a company for 15 months and they supplied a list of acceptable tools which I was permitted to use, basic tools not supplied apart from electric drill and ferrule crimper. This style of screwdriver handle was specified although make not specified: https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/screwdrivers/0736131/ Personally I don't get on with them and by the end of the day of panel building they made my hands sore so I reverted to my favourite [Wiha] and they tried a disciplinary on me.
     
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  14. conny

    conny

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    I don't know who thought that design handle was a good one. The are the devils work! I will not use anything that is hexagonal shaped in that fashion. I can well understand your hand/wrist aching.
     
  15. mattylad

    mattylad

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    I'd tell them where to get off if they tried telling me to use only those screwdrivers too.
    99% of my tools at work, including the tool case, the drawers I keep stuff in, the lumps of wood I use to drill on, on top of the bench that's varnished with my varnish - is all supplied by me.
    If my employers wanted to insist on specific tools then they would have to provide them and they would soon back down from a £500+ bill (and my tools are not the expensive ones either).

    Given the quality of the PAT course I did at Bolton last year - I can see no reason why an online one would not work just as well. :(
     
  16. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    Except for the thread title :)
     
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  17. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    As it happened I had a set of about a dozen screwdrivers which complied with the design which I'd purchased for the nut spinners but by the end of 2 days of using them I really remembered why I don't like them.
     
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