PAT testing explained

Everything you need to know about PAT testing.

Let’s answer the obvious question, ’What is a PAT test?’

We’ve created a guide that answers your PAT testing questions in a simple and straightforward way.

‘What is a PAT test?’ Customers are often asked by the wedding and event venues for all their wedding suppliers to be PAT Tested. However, customers have no idea what it is or why they need it, but they are intrigued.

Answering the question ‘what is an electrical PAT test?’, our guide below will help you understand your likely legal obligations. Though, a lot of the time, event venues would approach us directly as the supplier and not involve the wedding couple at all.

1. What is a PAT test?

A PAT test is a routine inspection of some types of electrical appliance to check they are safe to use. Its purpose is to prevent electrical accidents in the workplace or at an event.

A full PAT test should include both a visual inspection and a more in-depth check using specialist PAT testing equipment. This test includes earth continuity, lead polarity, and insulation resistance checks. It sounds hugely complicated with big words but it honestly isn’t.

At the end of a PAT test, every appliance should be marked ‘passed’ or ‘failed’. This is normally displayed with a sticker stuck to the plug of the device. The event supplier would ideally be issued with a certificate displaying a record of the results. This is what most venues are looking for.

Not all electrical items need to be PAT tested. We explain more in the section ‘Which items should be PAT tested?’ further down this page.

PAT testing

2. What does PAT stand for?

‘PAT’ stands for ‘Portable Appliance Testing’.
There is no definition of what a ‘Portable Appliance’ is in the current legislation. Yet the standard interpretation is “any appliance that has a plug attached to it and plugs into a wall outlet”.

There are actually 7 categories of appliance which should be considered for PAT testing as well as visual inspections:

– Fixed appliances
– Stationary appliances
– IT appliances
– Moveable appliances
– Portable appliances
– Cables and chargers
– Hand Held appliances

3. Is PAT testing a legal requirement?

PAT testing is not, in itself, a legal requirement or obligation.

Current UK legislation states that businesses must maintain electrical equipment in a safe condition. Wedding and Event Venues naturally have a responsibility to look after their guests as well as their employees.

PAT testing is one of the most effective ways to do this, in addition for high risk or large, complex environments, it has become a standard way of meeting this legal obligation.

If you would like to read the specific guidance concerning electrical equipment at work, you can find this in a number of pieces of legislation:

PAT Testing Regulations UK

– The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

– The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

– The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

– The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

What do we do?

We have our items independently checked as we offer a PAT Testing service ourselves. This way the venues we have to give our certificates to can’t be seen as biased. Our customers involve wedding venues and the smaller pub like and social club venues catering more for the birthdays and christening celebrations.

This has been a side project for us for a few years when wedding and event suppliers were approaching us about it. We now offer the PAT Testing to nearly 100 suppliers. Our PAT Testing machines are of the highest specifications and we have a qualified member of staff who visits the premises and writes up the report itemising every item they want testing.

We are now offering this service to warehouse and retail industries.