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What is it?
Portable appliance testing (commonly known as PAT is a process in which electrical appliances are routinely checked for safety. The formal term is “in-service inspection & testing of electrical equipment”. Testing involves a visual inspection of the equipment and their flexible cables for good condition, and also where required, verification of earthing (grounding) continuity, and finally, a test must be conducted for the soundness of insulation between the current carrying parts, and any exposed metal that may be touched.
PAT testing for businesses
It is the responsibility of all businesses to ensure that their electrical appliances are in safe working order for use in the environment in which they are being used.
PAT is an important part of any companies responsibility in order to maintain statutory health and safety compliance and when carried out correctly, can go towards preventing accidents or potential deaths within a companies working environment.
Businesses in the UK are expected to perform PAT testing regularly on portable appliances to comply with the following regulations:
- Health & Safety at Work Act of 1974
- The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
- The Provision an Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999
PAT testing for landlords
The Scottish Government issued guidance in 2015 on electrical appliances in private rented properties.
The guidance states that private landlords in Scotland should ensure all electrical appliances provided by the landlord under the tenancy agreement are electrically safe. In order to do this, a competent person should be employed to PAT test all Landlord owned appliances.
Integrated Compliance Services will:
- check all electrical appliances provided under the tenancy agreement and apply pass labels to those deemed compliant.
- label any failed items with a fail label and advise landlords to have it replaced or repaired.
- Provide a detailed log of the results to the landlord showing the results for each appliance along with a PAT test certificate.
Integrated Compliance Services carry out Landlord PAT Testing throughout Scotland. If you are looking for PAT Testing for rental properties, then contact us now. We PAT test properties at an affordable cost and with as little disruption to your tenant as possible.
As a landlord, what are my duties?
The legal duty for landlords who provide residential accommodation to consider, assess and control the risks of exposure to Legionella to their tenants is not new. This requirement stems from the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1989; Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 makes provision for the legislation to apply to landlords of both business and domestic premises. All water systems require an assessment of the risk which they can carry out themselves if they are competent, or employ somebody who is.
In most residential settings, a simple assessment may show that the risks are low and no further action may be necessary. (An example of a typical lower risk situation may be found in a small building (eg housing unit) with small domestic-type water systems, where daily water usage is inevitable and sufficient to turn over the entire system; where cold water is directly from a wholesome mains supply (no stored water tanks); where hot water is fed from instantaneous heaters or low volume water heaters (supplying outlets at 50 °C); and where the only outlets are toilets and wash hand basins). If the assessment shows the risks are low and are being properly managed, no further action is needed but it is important to review the assessment regularly in case anything changes in the system.
Simple control measures can help control the risk of exposure to legionella such as:
- flushing out the system prior to letting the property
- avoiding debris getting into the system (eg ensure the cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight fitting lid)
- setting control parameters (eg setting the temperature of the calorifier to ensure water is stored at 60°C)
- make sure any redundant pipework identified is removed.
Tenants should be advised of any control measures put in place that should be maintained eg not to adjust the temperature setting of the calorifier, to regularly clean showerheads and to inform the landlord if the hot water is not heating properly or there are any other problems with the system so that appropriate action can be taken. If there are difficulties gaining access to occupied housing units, appropriate checks can be made by carrying out inspections of the water system, for example, when undertaking mandatory visits such as gas safety checks or routine maintenance visits.
Where showers are installed, these have the means of creating and dispersing water droplets which may be inhaled causing a foreseeable risk of exposure to legionella. However, if used regularly (as in the majority of most domestic settings) the risks are reduced but in any case, tenants should be advised to regularly clean and disinfect showerheads. Instantaneous electric showers pose less of a risk as they are generally coldwater-fed and heat only small volumes of water during operation.
It is important that water is not allowed to stagnate within the water system and so there should be careful management of dwellings that are vacant for extended periods (eg student accommodation left empty over the summer vacation). As a general principle, outlets on hot and cold water systems should be used at least once a week to maintain a degree of water flow and minimise the chances if stagnation. To manage the risks during non-occupancy, consideration should be given to implementing a suitable flushing regime or other measures such as draining the system if it is to remain vacant for long periods.find out more