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Thursday, 10 October 2013

Insert to PAT Testing Handbook - Summary of changes introduced in Edition 4 of the IET Code of Practice

In November 2012 the IET launched Edition 4 of the “Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment”. This introduced a number of significant changes to the recommendations on how Portable Appliance Testing is carried out.


The scope of this handbook has always been wider than the IET Code of Practice. However to keep our readers up to date with current industry thinking, we have decided to produce this insert to highlight these new recommendations.
This is a summary of the major changes introduced in Edition 4 of the Code of Practice

·        Frequency of testing – There is now more emphasis on basing this on a risk assessment. It is the duty holder’s responsibility to work out the frequency of testing.

·        An additional category of fixed equipment has also been added.

·        Labelling - The next test date should NOT be on the label.

·        Testing Microwaves for leakage- This is no longer considered to be within the scope of PAT Testing.

·        Section on production testing - This has been removed.

·        New and Hired equipment - There is new advice on this.

·        Second Hand equipment - There is new advice on this.

This insert provides additional information on these.

Frequency of testing

There have been some minor changes to this. The new chart is reproduced at the end of this insert. This outlines the initial frequency of inspection and testing. Our advice in the handbook has always been to tailor this with experience i.e. test more frequently if a lot of appliances fail and test less frequently if most pass.

Fixed Equipment

This refers to appliances such as hand dryers and bathroom heaters which are connected by the use of a flexible cable to a fused mains spur. There is additional information on how to handle the inspection and testing of fixed appliances. If testing of these is required then it has to be carried out by a competent person.

In most instances, the main risk is damage to the cable which can be spotted by inspection. Looking through the Frequency of Testing chart, in low risk environments, fixed appliances only need to be tested every 5 years.

The most convenient way to do this is to get this done when the fixed installation is inspected by a qualified electrician.

Labelling

Edition 4 of the Code of Practice recommends that “the date for re-testing should not be marked on the label”. With more emphasis on making the frequency of testing based on a risk assessment, the Code of Practice recommends that the next test date should be noted by the duty holder in the Equipment test record.

In our view this recommendation is impractical, as the label serves a very useful purpose. We would advise our users to ignore this and carry on labelling appliances as before.

Testing Microwave Ovens
Edition 4 of the Code of Practice does not refer to the testing of Microwaves for leakage as this is now considered to be out of its scope. However the information in the handbook is invaluable to many organisations reselling used microwave ovens.

Hired Equipment

All electrical appliances on site, even hired equipment, must be maintained. For example, photo copiers, stage lighting equipment or power tools that are hired for short or long periods must be inspected and tested just like any other equipment that is on the premises.

New Equipment

There is no need to carry out inspection and testing on new appliances. It is advisable to carry out a user check to make sure that the appliance has not been damaged during delivery. The details of the new appliance have to be entered into the Equipment Register along with the proposed frequency of maintenance.

Second Hand Equipment

The IET Code of Practice has information relating to reselling second hand equipment. However this advice merely directs the reader to different websites. Most readers will find the information contained in the handbook to be more useful.

Recommended initial frequency of inspection and testing

Class I

Class II
Environment
Type
FVI
FVI & test

FVI
FVI & test
Construction sites
S
1 month
3 months
1 month
3 months
IT
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
M
1 month
3 months
1 month
3 months
P
1 month
3 months
1 month
3 months
H
1 month
3 months
1 month
3 months
Industrial & Commercial Kitchens
S
none
24 months
none
24 months
IT
none
24 months
none
24 months
F
12 months
24 months
12 months
48 months
M
6 months
12 months
6 months
24 months
P
6 months
12 months
6 months
12 months
H
6 months
12 months
6 months
12 months
Equipment used by the public
S
monthly
12 months
12 months
24 months
IT
monthly
12 months
12 months
24 months
F
12 months
36 months
12 months
24 months
M
weekly
6 months
6 months
12 months
P
weekly
6 months
6 months
12 months
H
weekly
6 months
6 months
12 months


Class I

Class II
Environment
Type
FVI
FVI & test

FVI
FVI & test
Schools
S
none
12 months
12 months
48 months
IT
none
12 months
12 months
48 months
F
12 months
36 months
12 months
48 months
M
6 months
12 months
12 months
48 months
P
6 months
12 months
12 months
48 months
H
6 months
12 months
12 months
48 months
Hotels
S
24 months
60 months
24 months
none
IT
24 months
60 months
24 months
none
F
24 months
48 months
24 months
none
M
12 months
24 months
24 months
none
P
12 months
24 months
24 months
none
H
12 months
24 months
12 months
none
Offices & shops
S
24 months
60 months
24 months
none
IT
24 months
60 months
24 months
none
F
24 months
48 months
24 months
none
M
12 months
24 months
24 months
none
P
12 months
24 months
24 months
none
H
12 months
24 months
12 months
none
These are guidelines to assist with the risk assessment

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