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Before COVID, home-working was something that was rarely done. Most employees had to head to their workplaces and spend most of their time there. However, at present, most employers allow flexible working hours as well as working from home.
Employers have a responsibility towards their employees to provide a safe working environment, which includes electrical safety and testing of portable appliances.
With work from home becoming more widespread, this has become much of a concern with many employers confused about their responsibility when it comes to PAT testing for home workers.
It is extremely important that employers recognise that they have the same legal responsibility towards employees who work from home, the same as those working from the office.
This article discusses the importance of PAT testing, what is required, whether the company support it, and what home workers can do to make their home offices safe and protected against electrical threats:
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) refers to a simple test carried out to ensure that the portable equipment is safe to use.
Portable appliances are any type of appliance not part of the fixed wiring. They can be carried and moved around easily, whether or not they are connected to a power source. Portable equipment may include computers, laptops, printers, desk lamps, microwaves, coffee machines, etc.
A professional PAT test involves a certified electrical contractor performing a visual assessment of the appliances and then carrying out a proper test to check their condition using specialised equipment.
Both types of assessments are equally important for a complete PAT test and to ensure that everything has been checked and is safe for use.
Most faults and defects can be identified by a visual test by keeping an eye out for overheating, burning, or unusual odours, whereas some can only be identified through a thorough inspection.
After completing the test, the certified electrical contractor will attach a sticker to the appliance indicating the health of the system in terms of a pass or fail.
Although there is no legal requirement to carry out PAT testing, it is a great way to check the equipment’s electrical safety.
Since employers have a legal responsibility under the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), they must take all the necessary precautions to make sure the workplace is safe for their employees.
According to the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, all employers must take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their employees while they are at work. This includes ensuring that all electrical appliances and equipment are safe to use.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the government agency responsible for enforcing the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, and it issues guidance on PAT testing, including the frequency of testing and the types of appliances and equipment that should be tested.
According to the HSE, all electrical appliances and equipment should be regularly inspected and tested to ensure that they are safe to use.
The frequency of testing will depend on the type of appliance or equipment, the environment in which it is used, and the level of use.
For example, appliances and equipment that are used frequently or are subjected to rough handling should be tested more frequently than those that are used infrequently or are handled gently.
PAT testing equipment at the office is a requirement to ensure the safety of the employees. But what about homeworkers? Should employers support PAT testing for home workers?
Yes, employers must protect their employees from harm while they are at work, whether they are at the office or working from home. They have the same legal responsibility towards home workers as they do for employees working out of the office.
PAT testing is a process of evaluating the safety of electrical appliances and equipment, and it is important for ensuring that all appliances and equipment are safe to use. If not, there can be an increased risk of electrocution, electric shocks, as well as electric fires.
PAT testing is an important part of electrical safety and must be conducted by companies for their home workers. Since electrical equipment can pose a serious threat if it is not properly maintained, PAT testing needs to be done to identify any potential hazards and ensure that all appliances and equipment are safe to use.
In addition to the safety benefits, companies may also benefit financially by supporting PAT testing for their home workers. Accidents and injuries caused due to faulty equipment may result in lost productivity and time and may also increase insurance costs.
Regular PAT testing can help reduce the risk of such accidents and injuries and prevent any downtime and added costs related to them.
Another reason why companies should support PAT tests for home-based workers is to fulfil their responsibility as good employers and protect their reputation.
The fact that the company cares about its employees and their safety makes the employees feel cared for and may increase their loyalty and level of productivity, compared to an employer who doesn’t care about providing a safe working environment for their workers.
It is also important to note that if an employee is injured while using a piece of office equipment that is not properly tested and maintained, the company could be held liable. This could result in bad publicity and damage the company’s reputation.
Keeping this in mind, companies that support PAT testing for their home-based workers demonstrate not only their commitment to the safety and well-being of their employees but also in protecting their business interests. So, it’s a win-win!
PAT testing for home workers typically includes a series of tests and inspections that are designed to assess the safety of portable electrical appliances and equipment.
The specific tests being carried out depend on several factors such as the appliance being tested, the manufacturer’s recommendations, and how often it is used.
Some of the tests included in PAT testing for home workers include:
In addition to the above-mentioned tests, PAT testing may also include checking the appliance or equipment for any potential safety issues such as missing or damaged safety features.
If your employees are working from home, there are two ways to conduct PAT tests:
This refers to a competent person, typically an electrical engineer, visiting the employee’s home and carrying out the PAT test there.
This refers to conducting the PAT tests on the appliances when the employee visits the office. They can bring along their appliances and equipment, have an engineer test them out, and take them on their way back home.
This is a more cost-effective solution compared to home visits, but it can be a bit difficult to coordinate and may require the employees to bring potentially heavy equipment to the office, which can be a hassle for them.
PAT tests need to be carried out on a regular basis to ensure the safety of the electrical appliances. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises all businesses to conduct PAT tests every 3 to 12 months. However, the frequency will depend on several factors such as:
While PAT testing falls under the responsibility of the employers, there is a lot that home workers can do on their part in order to make sure their home office remains safe and protected from electrical threats.
To prevent electrical faults from affecting you and your home, we recommend taking some time to identify the risks and hazards and taking the required measures to minimise them as much as possible.
For starters, home workers need to make sure that all their electrical installations are carried out by a certified electrician so that they are in accordance with British Standards.
Secondly, it is very important to have the electrical wiring and installations periodically tested and inspected to rule out any potential issues that may cause damage down the line.
You wouldn’t want to connect your PAT-tested work laptop to a faulty outlet, would you? Not only would that damage the appliance but also result in electric shocks and maybe even electrical fires.
As recommended in the British Standard wiring regulations, electrical installations need maintenance and servicing on a regular basis to make sure they keep working as they should.
This can be done by undertaking visual inspections to full electrical testing carried out by a certified electrician.
According to the wiring regulations BS 7671, every domestic property’s electrical installations must be regularly inspected and tested every 5 to 10 years to rule out any defective electrical work and safety hazards.
If you are a landlord renting out your home to someone, it is your responsibility to get the electrics tested every 5 years, or whenever there is a change in occupancy, to make sure they are safe to use by your tenants.
Electrical testing and inspections include a visual assessment to identify any ‘visible’ signs of electrical damage and defect and to reveal any areas that need attention, as well as a detailed inspection to determine whether the current electrical installations are satisfactory for continued use or not, at the end of which an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) is made.
Electrical safety is extremely important to prevent fires, shocks, and other accidents. Here are a few electrical safety tips for home workers to follow:
By following these tips, you can help ensure the safety of your home and protect your electrical appliances from electrical damage.
If you are looking for a registered electrician for the installation, maintenance, inspection, and rewiring of your property’s electrical system, look no further.
Calder Electrical offers a wide range of services to meet the demands of our clients. All our work is fully insured and we work to meet the standards set to us by the NICEIC to make sure all your electrical installations meet the current regulations and all the notifiable work is signed off by the local authorities.
We have been undertaking electrical work since 1976 and are specialists in the field. If you have unplanned issues within your home or business, we can provide a call-out service to rectify and solve any problems.
Our team can generate a Visual Inspection Report (VIR) to identify anything visual that does not comply with the standards or looks unsafe, as well as a full Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) where we will identify and test each circuit to make sure they are not deteriorating and are safe for use within the current standards and regulations set by the BS 7671.
We can also provide PAT testing of appliances to make sure that any items such as kettles, computers, and microwaves are safe for use in the home and workplace.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 3001 to get in touch with our professional electricians for more information on PAT testing for home workers.
Or would like us to provide a survey and quote then please contact us and we will be happy to help.Call us on 0800 612 3001