Portable Appliance Testing

The Legal Requirement

The combination of the The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 and The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 places responsibility on the employer to ensure that all types of electrical equipment in work situations are inspected and tested. The scope extends from distribution systems down to the smallest piece of electrical equipment.

There are no set statutory periods for formal visual inspection and test. The maintenance regime should be appropriate to the environment and duty for which the equipment is used. For example, electrical testing in a low-risk area such as an office would be less frequent than in a harsh industrial environment. Morgan Fire Protection can give you guidance on appropriate inspection intervals for your business.

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Which Portable Appliances Require Testing?

Your Morgan Fire Protection engineer can advise which of your appliances require testing. All work is carried out in accordance with the IEE code of Practice for ‘In-service inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment’ to assist you in meeting your legal requirements.

In this context, portable appliances are pieces of electrical equipment which have a lead requiring it to be plugged into an electric mains socket, eg:

  • IT equipment computer, printer
  • kitchen appliances toaster, fridge, kettle
  • office appliances photocopier, fax machine
  • desktop equipment fan, lamp

In addition, fixed equipment connected to the ring main via a spur, eg; air conditioning units, heated towel rails, water heaters and wall-mounted convector heaters

How Is Testing Carried Out?

As recommended by the Health & Safety Executive, specially trained Morgan Fire engineers carry out formal visual inspection and/or testing. The majority of portable appliances are required to be checked annually. The most important monitoring of portable appliances is through a regular formal visual inspection. This may include examining plugs, fuses, cable terminations etc.

Testing is necessary as faults may arise in electrical equipment that are not readily apparent. For example internal damage may result from misuse or internal electrical connections may deteriorate over time.

The user of the equipment should also be encouraged to check the condition of the equipment prior to use. It is relatively easy for employees to spot signs of damage, overheating and misuse.

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