[OT] PAT testing

Hi,
Sorry that this is off topic, but I know a lot of electricians and other people who know electrical regulations are here!
A mean employer near here denied staff the use of fans during the hot weather claiming that the fans could not be used until they were PAT tested.
This seems ironic because the employer was selling the same fans to its customers. If they were safe enough for the customers to use out of the box, you would have thought that they were safe enough for the employees to use too!
My employer (not the one above) sent me on a H&S course some time ago and PAT was mentioned briefly and I thought we were told that new appliances did not need to be tested whilst within the first year because there was an assumption that new goods were fit for purpose. However I don't remember exactly what was said as it was not relevant to my role at the time.
I've just been to the HSE web site and its faqs: http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/faq-portable-appliance-testing.htm
suggest that not only do new appliances not need to be tested before use, there is no requirement for an annual check either and it implies a common sense approach that depending on use, some equipment should be checked more often than others.
So why do companies insist on checking annually? Is this just to cover themselves if sued they could show regular checks were being made?
How does PAT testing work in your experience?
TIA
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I bought 4 disco style lamps last year, PAT tested them on getting them out of the box - and one failed - with no connection between the plug and the case.
Common sense is required, unfortunately insurance companies have none. In our theatre I have WRITTEN" policy of testing - some things at one yearly intervals, others which are rarely moved at 5 yearly intervals (fridge), Others in between.

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For many years our TN studio never ever was tested, even though its in a council block where every flats portable stuff was supposed to be tested, of course it never was. Now for the l last two years, they have come around and tested everything. Interestingly the council had a bad fire in one of its blocks the year before, No surely not that.. grin.
Brian
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They've usually been sold a bogus rip-off service by a PAT-test contractor, because the company contracting out the work doesn't know what it's doing. There is an inherent problem with this type of service anyway - if they only visit once a year, then that's the only testing frequency they can implement, however inappropriate it may be. Usually, they are both paying far more than they should, and there will be a few appliances which are not being checked frequently enough.

In one fairly small (50 people) company I worked for, I defined the process.
There is only one other company I've worked for which, in my view, did everything just right, and it was a 24x7 datacentre site. It had the luxury of 24x7 engineering staff on-site capable of performing PAT testing, as required for testing the various vendors' maintenance engineers kit who were mostly booked to come and work in the datacentre at night.
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One of my clients has a reasonably large and dynamic office with, I guess, more than 1000 occupants, and they have a contractor on site during normal hours. Ring up the service desk and they turn up and do your laptop, phone charger, or whatever within an hour or two.
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On 28/05/2012 14:01, newshound wrote:

It all came in just after one of my colleagues retired; his wife used to own a small shop. He got the kit, did the course, and used to do other commercial premises in the town. Potentially a nice little earner, but I think he did it at cost.
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Something similar was done for office visitors, except you handed over your laptop PSU as you were waiting to be booked in, and you got it back just as you finished being booked in. (Couldn't take it in past security without being tested first.)
This was probably OTT, but given that they had the infrastructure to do it instantly without delaying you, and at no charge, you couldn't really argue with that. It's when you have rules like this in place and don't have the necessary infrastructure to match so that you're pointlessly wasting time that you have a legitimate gripe.
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Assuming that the device was not damaged by inappropriate testing. In many cases only the mains lead could possibly need any kind of such testing in the first place. Even PSUs with IEC C6 and C14 don't always connect the earth pin.

Do they have anyone checking for kettles being used with multi-way extensions?
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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

My Brother has got it right. He gets frequently receives phone calls at work telling him he needs his electrical appliances PAT testing by law and then says to the PAT tester when they arrive "now just fuck off I do not need it doing unless you can show me the law".
They usually fuck off without arguing and seldom ring back.
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On Mon, 28 May 2012 19:42:49 +0100, "ARWadsworth"

They can be dashed useful some times.
Our external PAT tester routinly quotes an earth bond test at 1kV. Now 1kV into half an Ohm or less is a pretty impressive test.
<Sarcasm over>
Although not strictly neccessary as far as safety goes, they will also pass none working appliances.
I have voiced my concerns, but alas the PAT test is in place to allow our site staff to satisfy the gormless health and safety tossers who cannot see beyond a "do not use" label.
Consequently as long as a bit of paper is issued "everyone" is happy!!
HN
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There's no requirement that an appliance is working. The person doing the PAT test might also do a functional test, but may not be qualified to do so, and it may be impossible in some cases.

OTOH, an appliance which has nothing wrong with it at all can fail a PAT test, if it's not appropriate for the intended use. For example, if you have been given a hot air paint stripper to dry off your hair after working in outdoors in the rain and told to hold it at arm's length, that would be a PAT test failure. (Hence the need to test the appliance at point of use, and not having it brought to you.)
A more likely scenario would be an office full of people using a regular cheap (sub-10) kettle for their tea/coffee, such that it's running pretty continuously, something a cheap domestic kettle isn't designed for. You might either fail it as unsuitable for the situation in which it's being used, or you might pass it, but with the next PAT test due in 4 weeks. Obviously, a water boiler more appropriate for the duty cycle is required, which can therefore have a PAT test cycle which is not so excessive, and will probably work out cheaper in the long run, and certainly safer.
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Andrew Gabriel
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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

There was not much chance of the kettle breaking at todays jobs-(
Only 1 out of 8 customers offered, and the one that did offer looked like I would die of food poisoning if I drank his tea.
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On 2012-05-30, ARWadsworth wrote:

Outrageous!
Anyway, everybody knows builders &c. work more efficiently if you supply them with strong tea & biscuits. Shepherd Mead documented this (from a foreigner's perspective) in 1964.
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On 5/31/2012 7:21 AM, Adam Funk wrote:

The last set of workmen I had in, preferred (properly brewed) coffee and home baked cakes.
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On 2012-05-31, S Viemeister wrote:

True, & the gasfitter I hired recently only wanted coffee. But the general principle!!!
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"S Viemeister" wrote in message writes:

I prefer the local Blacksmiths tea, the same as domestic tea but with mystery black bits :-)
Mike
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On Wed, 30 May 2012 21:04:36 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

The cheap office kettle in constant use will pass most times. The element that is not in use too often wil absorb water and fail.
Common sense solution, run the thing for a few minutes. MOD solution [When I worked for them] was to fail the device and buy another unit that would fail the next PAT test.
Incidentally office kettles do not fail very often. Just try snipping a plug or two some morning. The red writing on the "failed" sticker is easily obscured with PAT testers blood
HN
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Failure tends to be because the thing wears out quickly, e.g. starts leaking water, connector starts overheating, fails to switch off, some part of the case breaks, lid goes missing, etc.
An [electrically] leaking element is not an instant failure, it's only a failure if it doesn't dry out enough when operated for a while.

That's what the guidelines tell you to do anyway in this case.

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Andrew Gabriel
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IME experience your assumptions about new equipment are correct.
Internal audit came round once to check our ladders - internal charge 50 each. Answer - UFO I will go down the local shed and buy new ones for 30. They never came back.
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hugh

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In message

The NHS and other public bodies make interpretations of the law and apply them to their situation to minimise risk of litigation. Those who work in those bodies then believe that their application IS the law.
Therefore implementation within public bodies is not a reliable indicator of what the law actually states - another example is driving a vehicle with blue lights.
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hugh

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