All appliances in a property must be PAT tested every 12 months to ensure they are in good working order. Again this is all part of ensuring the whole property provided to tenants is kept to a safe standard.
The boring part that we must comply with…
PAT Testing Legislation
Business owners, landlords, public service providers and employers are required, by law, to take steps to ensure that electrical equipment within your property is safe to use. the legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance is:
- The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
- The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
- The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
- General legislative guidance
This guidance has been prepared with reference to the Institution of Electrical Engineers Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment. Although reference is made to legislation, this guide should not be considered as legal advice. In cases of doubt, the specific legislation mentioned should be consulted and legal advice obtained.
In recent years the responsibilities for safety of persons at work have been prescribed in much legislation. The legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 puts a duty of care upon both employer (sections 2, 3 and 4 etc) and employee (section 7) to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self-employed.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state:
- Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work, and the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking. (Regulation 3(1))
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 state:
- Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided. (Regulation 4(1))
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) cover most risks that can result from using work equipment. With respect to risks from electricity, compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is likely to achieve compliance with PUWER regulations 5-9, 19 and 15.
PUWER only applies to work equipment used by workers at work. This includes all work equipment (fixed, portable or transportable) connected to a source of electrical energy. PUWER does not apply to the fixed installations in a building. The electrical safety of these installations is dealt with only by the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state:
As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger. (Regulation 4(2))
‘System’ means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment. (Regulation 2(1))
Electrical equipment includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy . (Regulation 2(1))
Scope of the legislation
It is clear that the combination of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 apply to all electrical equipment used in, or associated with, places of work. The scope extends from distribution systems, be they 400 kV or simply those in buildings, down to the smallest piece of electrical equipment such as a hairdryer, a VDU, a telephone or even in some situations battery-operated equipment.
Who carries the responsibility in law?
Everyone at work has their responsibilities including, in certain circumstances, trainees. However, because of the all-embracing responsibilities of all persons this does not minimise the duties of particular persons. Regulation 3 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 recognises a responsibility (control) that employers and many employees have for electrical systems.
It shall be the duty of every employer and self-employed person to comply with the provisions of these Regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his control.
It shall be the duty of every employee while at work to co-operate with his employer so far as is necessary to enable any duty placed on that employer by the provisions of these Regulations to be complied with and to comply with the provisions of these Regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his control.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 requires every employer to ensure that equipment is suitable for the use for which it is provided (Regulation 4(1)) and only used for work for which it is suitable (Regulation 4(3)). They require every employer to ensure equipment is maintained in good order (Regulation 5) and inspected as necessary to ensure it is maintained in a safe condition (Regulation 6).
This legislation applies to normal business, commercial and industrial premises such as shops, offices factories and workplaces. It also applies to residential property let by private landlords.