Portable Appliance Testing why do it

Portable Appliance Testing why do it , In the work place all portable electrical equipment should be subject to ‘User Checks’ carried out by a competent person. As an employer its very important to protect people in premises that you control from electric shock, fire and other hazards. Its also very important to protect yourself and your company from prosecution should an accident occur which is not your fault.

The examples shown in this blog were all identified by Veriserv engineers and demonstrate how your employees could negatively effect safety in your workplace. In other words, employees who ignore the basic principles of electrical safety could land you and others in trouble.

The first example of portable appliance testing why do it, shows a standard 13amp plug where the fuse has been replaced with a peace of metal bar. A correctly rated fuse will blow if the portable appliance develops a fault. This in turn protects the user from potential electric shock and would prevent the possibility of the appliance overheating and causing a fire.

Someone has deliberately replaced the fuse with the bar which is totally irresponsible, given that the appliance is no longer protected at the rated 13 amps. Given the size of the cables it may be that the appliance itself should be connected by a different means to a 13 amp plug. A competent portable appliance test engineer will check ratings and advise accordingly and a veriserv engineer would also disconnect the appliance and issue an immediate report to advise our customer.

This second example was found plugged in and switched on with live conductors showing.


Again this is an example where it would be clear to a responsible person that this extension lead is not fit for use.

The third example is another broken extension lead being used in service which clearly exposes people to an electric shock hazard.

Both faults were found by Veriserv engineers during annual portable appliance testing (PAT) and these examples reinforce the importance of maintaining a proper testing regime to protect people in your premises.

Ideally, equipment which has an obvious visual fault should be switched off and taken out of service by an employee or person acting responsibly in the workplace. Only very basic health & Safety training is required to achieve this.

In any event, in the workplace it should not be acceptable for a defect to go unnoticed, therefore the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) recommend that formal visual inspections are undertaken periodically by a competent person to identify these hazardous items.

All Veriserv PAT engineers are qualified to the City & Guilds 2377 Level 3 award in the in service inspection and testing of electrical equipment (PAT)

If you need advice on Portable Appliance Testing please feel free to request a quotation or call Veriserv directly on: 01543 225306.

Useful References:

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) publish guidance for the maintenance of portable appliances

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provide useful guidance on Portable Appliance Testing

IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment Chapter 15.8

Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Regulation 5
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Regulation 4(1)

If you need advice on Portable Appliance Testing please feel free to request a quotati

Snake perishes in electrical consumer unit incident

Snake perishes in electrical consumer unit incident – This “incident” may be creative license however the dead snake was found by a Veriserv engineer whilst carrying out a routine electrical fixed wire inspection and test at a domestic property. Although this is a rare situation we would like to highlight the more serious issue of how a domestic consumer unit can be susceptible to fire, particularly if not electrically inspected and tested periodically.

It wasn’t clear from the remains of the snake whether or not it had died directly from an electric shock or from starvation whilst in the electrical consumer unit , but it was clear that it had been in there for quite some time. When it was shown to the tenant living at the property he said that his pet snake had mysteriously disappeared two years earlier and had never been found, so this did explain where the snake had come from.

We would like to raise the more serious issue about consumer units generally and how fires can be prevented by periodic electrical inspection and testing. Consumer units can be the source of a fire caused by overheating of loose terminals, faulty or incorrectly rated breakers, and debris inside the enclosure can be a source of fuel for a fire to start, such as loose paper or other flammable materials.

Here is an example of overheating in a distribution board, again found by a veriserv engineer whilst carrying out a periodic mains fixed wire test.

Most domestic consumer units are made of plastic and a recent update to the 17th edition wiring regulations calls for all consumer units to be constructed using a non combustible enclosure.

The third amendment to BS 7671:2011 (IET Wiring Regulations Seventeenth Edition), includes a new regulation requiring consumer units and similar switch gear assemblies in domestic premises to have a non-combustible enclosure. More information can be found by visiting the Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET).

More useful information can be found by visiting the NICIEC website.

Chapter 42 of the regulations states;

Due to the number of consumer unit fires reported within domestic premises, Regulation 421.1.201 (UK only) has been added and requires  consumer units and similar switchgear to have their enclosure manufactured from non-combustible material or be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure constructed of non-combustible material and complying with Regulation 132.12. This regulation was implemented on 1st January 2016 to allow manufacturers time to ensure an adequate supply of suitable cabinets or enclosures would be available.

For more fire safety advise check the “Fire Kills” gov.uk website

To book a mains electrical inspection and test, or fire risk assessment please call Veriserv on 01543 225306 or complete our inquiry form.