How Often should Office Electrical Equipment be PAT Tested?

Portable appliance testing (also known as PAT testing or simply PAT) is an important part of your company’s regular maintenance regimen. It helps you ensure that all of your portable electronic assets are in good working order and suitable for the job that they are designed for.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the PAT process and establish how often your office equipment should be tested to allow for optimal performance.

What is PAT testing?

Simply put, PAT testing is the process of checking all of your company’s portable electrical appliances to determine whether or not they are safe to use. There are several ways to conduct these checks. The most basic check is one that we do every time we operate a piece of electronic equipment—a visual and physical inspection. If the appliance doesn’t turn on or fails to work as expected, then that’s a good indication that it needs to be repaired or replaced. Similarly, if you can see frayed or exposed wires, cracked screens, or casings, your equipment will need to be fixed accordingly.

However, sometimes it’s not so cut and dried. A portable appliance might appear to be working as normal, but if it’s not properly calibrated, it could be providing false or inaccurate readings. In extreme cases, this might be noticeable to an experienced operator. Of course, if the readings are only slightly off, they may not be spotted so easily, but they can still cause problems for your business if you’re using those inaccurate readings. Fortunately, these faults can be detected and avoided by regular electronic PAT testing.

What is the PAT testing process?

As already discussed, many PAT tests can be concluded with a visual inspection. When the equipment looks fine, an electrical check will need to be performed to confirm it is still in good working order. A PAT tester machine is used to perform more detailed checks such as insulation resistance, lead polarity, and earth continuity. While there are other checks that can be conducted, these are the most common tests needed for the majority of office equipment.

Why is PAT testing necessary?

PAT testing ensures that your portable electrical equipment is fit for purpose and safe to use. For business owners, it helps them meet their legal obligation to maintain a high standard of safety for their employees and customers.

Those legal obligations are laid out in the following pieces of legislation:

PAT testing should be carried out as part of your company’s regular preventative maintenance program. Not only does it ensure that you remain compliant with existing legislation and guidance, it also minimises the risk of electrical shocks and fires within the workplace.

How often should office equipment be PAT-tested?

Despite the plethora of health and safety legislation in place, there is nothing that states exactly how long your equipment should go between PAT tests. In many cases, it depends on the type of equipment, how frequently it is used, how old it is, how often it’s moved around, and the general experience and competence of the people operating it. As you might expect, this can result in huge variations from company to company.

As a general guideline, PAT testing should be undertaken as part of your regular preventative maintenance regime. This is typically every 12 months for most businesses, though some choose to conduct it more or less frequently than that. If, following your initial PAT testing, you arrange an annual check, not all your equipment might need to be tested. Key appliances could benefit from a yearly inspection, while others could be safely tested every 24 or 48 months. Speak to your PAT testing provider who should be able to offer guidance on this.

Can I conduct PAT testing myself?

PAT testing is performed to ensure the safety and efficiency of your electrical equipment. This means that it should always be conducted by a competent person. If your appliances are considered low-risk, that competent person could be an experienced member of staff with the appropriate knowledge and training. Most likely, however, you will need to hire a fully-trained and qualified electrical engineer who can bring the right skills, expertise, and tools to the job.

How often should you PAT test office equipment: final thoughts

If your company is based in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, or Staffordshire, look no further than A&J Bartlett for all your PAT testing needs. Working from our office in Ashby-De-La-Zouch, we cover a 30-mile radius across the region, providing essential PAT checks to local businesses. We can perform one-off PAT testing solutions or arrange a regular inspection schedule to ensure your equipment is always operating as it should be.

Call the team today on 01530 441 878 or send an email to to discuss your requirements and see what we can do for you.

Share this post