PAT (portable appliance testing) is an important part of preventing accidents that involve portable electric appliances; it an integral part of any safety and health policy. In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive reports that 1/4 of all reported electrical accidents directly involve portable electric appliances.

Electricity at Work Regulations direct legal accountability on self-employed persons, employees and employers to be in compliance with the regulations and to take all reasonable steps to assure that no menace is presented by the use of the appliances. These regulations essentially mandate the creation of a regular, methodical program of inspection, testing and maintenance in the following circumstances: where appliances are serviced and/or repaired, hired or supplied, used by employees and where the public may use appliances such as hotels, shops etc.

In order to signify that an appliance has been inspected and has fulfilled (or failed) the test requirements, PAT testing labels are affixed to the cord of the appliance showing the date of the test, the date the next test is due and the initials of the person who performed the test. PAT testing labels also identify the name of the company responsible for the testing and an ID number for the appliance. PAT testing labels are available in any of a number of colours but all will contain either the word “PASSED” or “FAILED” in large print in a very obvious position on the label.

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