One of the questions we are often asked by customers is: ‘Is PAT testing a legal requirement?’
Not sure what you need to do to keep your electrical equipment safe and compliant?
Let’s take a look at the rules and regulations and see if PAT testing is a legal requirement for commercial and residential properties, and if so, when PAT testing is required.
- The law surrounding electrical equipment and PAT testing
- Do I need to get PAT testing done for insurance purposes?
- Is PAT testing a legal requirement in Scotland?
- Is PAT testing a legal requirement in Northern Ireland?
- Do I need to get PAT testing if my employees are working from home?
- Do I need to get PAT testing done if I am a landlord?
- Do I need to get PAT testing done if I am responsible for a care home?
- In summary: is PAT testing mandatory?
The law surrounding electrical equipment and PAT testing
We are often asked if it is a legal requirement to have equipment PAT tested.
There are no laws in place that specify you are required to carry out PAT testing (also known as electrical equipment testing) in your office building, commercial building, or rental property.
However, there are some laws in place that specify that as a duty holder, it is your responsibility to keep your employees and customers safe.
If you fail to do this, you could be liable for a fine or prison sentence.
These regulations include:
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Health and Safety at Work Act advises that “it shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
This means that it is your responsibility to make sure that the working environment is safe for all employees.
This applies to staff that might be working from home too: “so far as is reasonably practicable as regards any place of work under the employer’s control.”
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states that you must keep all electrical equipment that could cause injury in a safe condition.
“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger”.
Electrical equipment can be dangerous if not well-maintained. Not only can equipment cause electric shock, but a malfunction or overload can result in an electrical fire.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (also known as PUWER) requires that equipment provided for use at work is maintained in a safe condition and regularly inspected to ensure it does not become dangerous to use.
“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”
“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations is inspected at suitable intervals and each time that exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the work equipment have occurred.”
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that employers carry out risk assessments to identify the dangers to employees, customers and site visitors. The employee must also and take measures to mitigate against these risks.
“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.”
This risk assessment may identify the need for PAT testing to take place, in order to keep people safe.
The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992
The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 were created to ensure that staff operate in a safe, clean and well-lit environment. The regulations also apply to non-employees who may use the premises.
Ensuring that electrical equipment is well-maintained reduces the risk of it malfunctioning and causing illness or injury.
“The workplace and the equipment, devices and systems to which this regulation applies shall be maintained (including cleaned as appropriate) in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. Where appropriate, the equipment, devices and systems to which this regulation applies shall be subject to a suitable system of maintenance.”
Do I need to get PAT testing done for insurance purposes?
Your insurance company may require that you carry out PAT testing for your public liability and employer’s liability cover to be valid.
We’d recommend checking with your insurance provider to see what specific rules and regulations they have in place.
Is PAT testing a legal requirement in Scotland?
PAT testing is not a legal requirement in commercial buildings in Scotland.
However, it is a legal requirement if you own a rental property.
Is PAT testing a legal requirement in Northern Ireland?
PAT testing is currently not a legal requirement for commercial or residential properties in Northern Ireland.
Do I need to get PAT testing if my employees are working from home?
The employer is responsible for an employee’s health, safety, and well-being when they are in the office, in line with The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974).
If an employee is working from home and using the company’s equipment, this still applies.
(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of an employer’s duty under the preceding subsection, the matters to which that duty extends include in particular—
(d) so far as is reasonably practicable as regards any place of work under the employer’s control, the maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and maintenance of means of access to and egress from it that are safe and without such risks;
(e) the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.
This means that you can still be liable if your staff injure themselves away from your office.
While PAT testing isn’t mandatory, it can be the best way to keep staff working from home safe.
Do I need to get PAT testing done if I am a landlord?
It depends on where your rental property (or properties) is based, and what type of property it is.
PAT testing is a legal requirement in Scotland and needs to be carried out alongside EICR inspections.
If you are a Houses In Multiple Occupation (HMO) landlord in the UK, you may have to carry out PAT testing. The specific rules can vary from council to council, so we would recommend checking with your local authority.
You don’t have to get PAT testing done if you rent out other types of properties in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, but as duty holder, it can be the right way of showing your tenants you are keeping them safe.
Bear in mind that it is a legal requirement for you to have your electrical installations (e.g. sockets and light fittings) tested through EICR if your property is in England or Scotland.
Do I need to get PAT testing done if I am responsible for a care home?
Some people believe that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) requires you to get PAT testing done at care homes.
The CQC requires that services like care homes, residential homes, and sheltered accommodations keep electrical equipment well-maintained and safe.
PAT testing can be one of the best ways to do this, but it is not a mandatory requirement.
In summary: is PAT testing mandatory?
Is PAT testing a legal requirement? It depends on where you are and what type of building you occupy.
However, it is a legal requirement that you keep your equipment well-maintained to protect your employees, residents, and customers from harm.
The most effective way to ensure your electrical equipment is safe is by carrying out regular PAT testing.