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The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 requires “All electrical systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any danger”.
This is interpreted as covering the fixed wire electrical installation as well as portable and transportable equipment connected to it. The Regulations also state
“It is a duty of every employer and self employed person to comply with the provision of these Regulations”.

It is recommended that all appliances in an commercial environment should have portable appliance testing (PAT Testing) every year as to ensure it is still safe to use.
There are circumstances where this period should be reduced such as appliances on construction sites and industrial premises where where and tear is
more common.  Such instances are recommended to have a quarterly test (every 3 months).


It is essential to inspect and test the portable appliances to measure the degree of protection to ensure that is adequate. A formal visual inspection is carried out then electrical tests are performed.

There are 3 types of construction of appliances


Class 1 Single insulated wiring

Class 2 Double insulated wiring with no need of an earth lead

Class 3 Appliances which operate at extra low voltage less than 50V.

The portable appliance testing that is carried out is to declare an item is electrically safe is dependant on the class of the construction of the appliance. These tests are:


Earth Continuity

Insulation Resistance

Polarity of Wiring

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