What is PAT Testing and do I need it in Coventry?

Attaching a sticker after a PAT testing a piece of equipment for electrical safety in Coventry


PAT testing or to give it it’s full name “portable appliance testing” is a vital part of any health & safety policy for small businesses in Coventry, schools, theatres or any other organisation that needs to ensure the electrical safety of equipment used daily. It’s becoming increasingly common for residential care homes to ask that equipment taken in for residents is PAT tested as well.

Some church organisations are organising PAT testing too, having recognised how many things with plugs they have. It covers office equipment such as photocopiers, laminating machines and even the kettle in the kitchen!

Have a read of this article from Coventry Catholic Deanery – here.

It’s all about being safe

Statistics from the Health & Safety Executive show that 25% of all reportable electrical accidents involve portable appliances or office equipment.

The Electricity at Work Regulations place a legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the regulations. Which means taking reasonably practicable steps to ensure that no danger results from the use of such equipment. You’re required as a business owner or landlord to implement a systematic and regular program of maintenance, inspection and testing for electrical appliances under your control.

PAT testing is all about ensuring electrical safety

The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) places such an obligation in the following circumstances:

  • Electrical appliances used by employees.
  • Where the public may use appliances in establishments such as a doctors surgery, schools, hotels, shops etc.
  • Appliances are supplied or hired.
  • Where appliances are repaired or serviced.

The level of inspection and testing required is dependant upon the risk of the appliance becoming faulty, which is in turn dependant upon the type of appliance, the nature of its use and the environment in which it is used.

A poorly wired 13a plug on a piece of electrical equipment found during PAT testing in Coventry

Do we need our equipment PAT tested?

It’s always difficult to decide which appliance needs PAT testing, which is why I’m here – I can do a free site visit to look over your premises to help you decide.

If you’re a business owner then equipment over 12 months old should be tested to establish its condition then tested at regular intervals you deem suitable. This can prove a good cost saving for a doctors surgery where some of the non-clinical equipment such as PC’s, printers, desk lamps and so on could be tested every two years.

Did you know that if you supply your workforce with laptops, power tools with chargers or mobile phones with chargers – you’re responsible for ensuring the electrical safety of those too?

Can you PAT Test our stage lighting?

The answer is “Yes! I can indeed…”.

A lot of PAT testing businesses are used to small businesses or domestic situations where most of the equipment has 13a square pin plugs or IEC connectors. If they encounter round pin plugs used on stage lighting, they often refuse to test on the grounds that the connector is obsolete. Some testers will fail stage lighting because there are no sleeves on the pins – some even try to PAT test the cable patch!

We’ve been told we can’t use round pin plugs anymore

As you can see in this article here – as long as the connector conforms to BS546 then it’s good to go – the same goes for CEEFORM connectors – more venues use them and many PAT testers simply don’t have the requisite test cable.

I’ve been a theatre electrician around Coventry & the West Midlands for over 40 years so I’m used to seeing 5a & 15a round connectors in use as well as odd lengths of extension cable (some PAT test equipment will only test up to 10m long cables), I also have the necessary adaptors to test 16a & 32a CEEFORM connectors alongside 110v equipment too. I can also advise which stage lighting equipment needs to be tested regularly and which doesn’t rather than blithely put a sticker on everything I see.

What makes me so special for PAT testing Stage Lighting?

Don’t think just because your lanterns are old that they’ll fail a pat test, many actually pass with flying colours. Even if some items do fail, I’m experienced in either repairing them or advising how to repair them – Ledbury Amateur Dramatics even repaired some themselves – have a look here.

How do I test?
Sample labels used to label equipment after PAT Testing in Coventry

All testing is carried out using ‘industry standard’ and calibrated equipment (you can see my calibration certificate on this page) and each item will get its own unique ID and label for easy identification. Once testing is complete you will receive a copy of your certification paperwork for your records.

How much do we charge?

On the basis that you’ll have at least 12 items of equipment to test, I charge £3.50 per item. Typically it will take approximately 90 minutes to test and I will need to power down your equipment to test it.

If you need a TV or portable music player (for instance) tested before you take it in to a care home for a resident – then I charge £7.95 per item which includes a printed PAT test certificate and a printout of the actual test results. If your appliance needs a new plug or fuse then that’s included in the price.

I don’t have access equipment so you’ll need to ensure the kit is accessible on the deck if you want me to test stage lighting.

Please note:

  • These prices are dependent on free and easy access to the equipment.
  • I’m not VAT Registered – so you don’t pay VAT extra.
  • If needed I can replace plugs and fuses using good quality parts as a chargeable extra
  • I reserve the right to charge for my time if I have to wait unduly to test appliances.
  • I’m based in Coventry, so travel to postcodes CV1 to CV7 is free. I will work outside this area but will quote separately for travel expenses.