SC17 - Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment (PAT)
06 Dec 2010



Inspection and Testing




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The most recent significant changes to this document are highlighted in red.
Initial launch
June 2008
1.1Minor changes to section 3.1,
addition of 'extension leads' to Appendix 2.
June 2009
1.2Amendment to audit checklistMay 2013
1.3Minor change to definition 3.1March 2014
Add Document Retention appendix and related changes to responsibilities.
January 2015
General revision and inclusion of Department based PAT testers and PAT Liaison Officers
December 2015
Minor change to training matrix
February 2016
​​Minor change to Schedule A equipment
​March 2017
​Minor change (to printable PDF) to reflect formation of UKRI
​October 2018​
​Minor review of all sections, with Appendix 3, 4 and 5 inserted
​May 2019
​STFC Electrical Safety committee review - minor changes to scope, section 4.1.1, Appendix 1 and microwave ovens
​August 2019

​Minor change in terminology as per 4.3 and 4.7
​January 2020
​Update to Appendix 2
​March 2020

Changes resulting from versions 2.4 and 3.0 were extensive and ​readers should assume that significant portions of the body and Appendices have changed.​

1. Purpose

Electrical equipment is used extensively throughout STFC and includes portable, movable, stationary, hand held and built in appliances, along with extension leads and multiway adaptors. The purpose of this code and electrical legislation is to minimise possible hazards, such as electric shock, fire and electrical burns, arising from electrical equipment.

Electrical equipment should only be used for the purpose for which it was intended and in the environment for which it was designed and constructed. To comply with legislation electrical equipment should be properly maintained, inspected and tested to prevent danger.

Electrical maintenance is the subject of extensive and detailed legislation and guidance:

  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
  • The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
  • Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Regulations 2006 (WEEE directive)
  • BS7671: Requirements for Electrical Installations
  • Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment (IET)

This code outlines STFC policy for the periodic inspection and testing of electrical equipment to determine whether it is fit for continued service or if maintenance or replacement is necessary

2. Scope

This policy is applicable to all staff, users, visitors, contractors and tenants at STFC sites and for all electrical equipment used on these sites irrespective of its ownership, for example equipment brought to STFC sites by facility users and contractors.

Contractors are responsible for ensuring that their electrical equipment is suitably inspected and tested, presenting evidence as such prior to use on STFC sites.

This code applies to purchased or hired electrical equipment and electrical equipment constructed/manufactured in-house.

The electrical equipment covered by this code is supplied at 400, 230 or 110 volts via a flexible lead fitted with a plug and socket connection, with construction classifications of Class I and Class II. These include equipment types:

  • Portable appliances or equipment
  • Movable appliances or equipment
  • Stationary appliances or equipment
  • Hand-held appliances or equipment
  • Built-in appliances or equipment (generally domestic or similar)
  • IT equipment
  • Extension leads, RCD extension leads, multiway adapters, RCD adapters

The following electrical equipment and installations are exempt from this code:

  • Battery operated equipment
  • Class II equipment where the flexible cord supplies voltage ≤120VDC or ≤50VAC
  • Class III equipment
  • Fixed electrical installations (Appendix 5)

Examples include: battery powered drills; mobile device chargers; plug in AC adapters and laptop power supplies with detachable mains leads (the mains lead still being subject to inspection and testing as per section 3, schedule A & B).

The safety and proper functioning of appliances and items of electrical equipment depend on the integrity of the fixed installation. A system for inspection and testing of the fixed installation shall to be established, see Appendix 5 and should be verified in accordance with BS7671.

Fixed electrical equipment and appliance directly coupled to the electrical system (such as through a connection unit or spur) should be considered as part of the fixed installation, see Appendix 5.

3. Definitions

3.1 Electrical equipment or appliance

Electrical Equipment or Appliance is defined as those items operated by an electrical supply of 400, 230 or 110 volts via a flexible lead fitted with a plug and socket connection, including flying leads and 3 phase plugged equipment.

3.2 Fixed Electrical Equipment or Appliance

Fixed Electrical Equipment or Appliance are designed to be fastened to a support or otherwise secured in a specified location, e.g. hand dryers, water boilers, electric towel rail, fixed air-conditioning units, instrumentation racks etc.

3.3 Fixed Electrical Installation

Fixed Electrical Installation is an assembly of fixed electrical equipment and / or appliances used for generating, conversion, transmission or utilisation of electrical energy, such as distribution transformers, fixed wiring, distribution boards, socket outlets and fixed lighting circuits.

3.4 Classification

Classification of electrical equipment is classified in terms of the method of protection the equipment construction provides against electric shock. Class I, II and III are common equipment categories, see Appendix 2 for more detail. Examples include: computers, extension leads, fans, electric heaters, kettles, microwaves, refrigerators, toasters, battery chargers, 230 / 110 volt power tools and other similar equipment. This may also include in-house designed and constructed electrical equipment such as electronic racks.

3.5 Inspection and Testing

Inspection and Testing is a means of determining whether maintenance is required.

3.6 Frequency of Inspection and Testing

Frequency of Inspection and Testing depends on likelihood of maintenance being required and the consequences of lack of maintenance. A robust risk assessment should be carried out in all cases, to evaluate the frequencies between inspection and testing. Risk encompasses many factors, such as environment, construction, equipment type frequency of use and installation method.

3.7 Test Operative

Test Operative is a person competent to inspect and test an electrical appliance and based on the results; state that the equipment is safe or otherwise for continued use. Training and experience will both be necessary.

3.8. Schedule A

Schedule A electrical appliances must be tested and inspected at least annually. In general schedule A equipment are usually hand-held, portable or moveable appliances that are operated in a arduous environment, frequently used and of class 1 or 11 construction, for example: extension leads; laptop power leads; kettles; refrigerators; microwave ovens; vacuum cleaners; mobile water coolers; portable air conditioning units; electric heaters; toasters; hand held electrical tools and equipment e.g. mains powered drills; soldering irons, laboratory based equipment, etc.

3.9. Schedule B

Schedule B electrical appliances must be tested and inspected at least every four years. In general schedule B equipment is usually stationary or built-in appliances used in benign environments, frequency of use can vary and of class 1 or 11 construction, including but not limited to ‘standard’ office equipment and their power leads, for example: PCs; monitors; printers; plotters; photocopiers; scanners; fax machines; desk lamps; fans; electric staplers; laminators; shredders; battery chargers; fixed electronics racks.

3.10. Notes

Electrical power leads shall be tested to the schedule at which the equipment they supply is tested. Power leads not connected to equipment at the time of testing must be tested to Schedule A

4. Responsibilities

4.1 Responsible Estates Services (or equivalent premises management) shall:
  • 4.1.1. Organise and execute an inspection and testing programme for Schedule A and B - electrical equipment, according to the schedule defined in 3.8 and 3.9 using portable electrical equipment test operatives, see Appendix 1​. Disposal or repair of faulty electrical equipment is the responsibility of the Department / User in consultation with Estates Services.
  • 4.1.2. Ensure that all companies contracted to perform inspection and testing supply risk assessment, method statements and staff competencies prior to work commencing.
  • 4.1.3. Based upon the results of the inspection and testing programme ensure that a register of electrical equipment, its name and location, and a database of test results is established and retained according to the schedule detailed in Appe​ndix 8​.
  • 4.1.4. Provide an ad hoc inspection and testing service for electrical equipment from departments where local test operatives have not been appointed, and provide advice on electrical equipment safety as required.
  • 4.1.5. Consult with the department portable electrical equipment liaison officers as recorded on the SHE Directory.
  • 4.1.6. Produce an annual report summarising the results and recommendations from the inspection and testing programme for review by the STFC electrical safety committee.
4.2 Authorising Engineers (Electrical) shall:
  • 4.2.1. Appoint in writing sufficient competent STFC staff or contractors as portable electrical equipment test operatives within Estate Services to undertake site wide inspection and testing programmes, see Appendix 6, ensuring that they are suitably trained and experienced, recording names in the STFC SHE Directory.
  • 4.2.2. Appoint, or nominate others to appoint in writing sufficient competent portable electrical equipment test operatives within departments, see Appendix 6, to compliment the annual site wide inspection and testing programmes ensuring that they are suitably trained and experienced, recording names in the STFC SHE Directory.

Note: Departmental test operatives may be required in departments where:

  • Large numbers of external/facility user equipment is receipted;
  • Electrical equipment is in-house designed and constructed;
  • Equipment cannot be made available for site annual inspectors due to operational constraints for example within radiation areas.
4.3 Departmental Portable Electrical Equipment Test Operatives (PAT Tester) shall:
  • 4.3.1 Complementing the site PAT test programme, undertake as requested PAT tests required by Departmental staff, to the schedule defined in 3.8 and 3.9.
  • 4.3.2 Maintain a local record of PAT tests through a register recording the date and results on the equipment tested, see Appendix 1 and Appendix 8.
  • 4.3.3 Ensure that departmental departmental electrical equipment test records are retained according to the schedule detailed in Appendix 8 and are available for review.
  • 4.3.4 Produce an annual report summarising the results and recommendations from the inspection and testing records for review by the STFC Electrical Safety Committee.
4.4 Managers and Supervisors Shall:
  • 4.4.1 as appropriate, through the annual site PAT testing programmes or Departmental PAT inspectors and testers, ensure that all electrical equipment is inspected and tested on arrival or on construction and thereafter according to schedule defined in 3.8 and 3.9​​.
  • 4.4.2 ensure that staff are aware of their responsibilities with regards to the selection and use of Electrical Equipment, see 4.5, and that items of Electrical Equipment, including extension leads, are only used for the purpose for which they are intended and in the environment for which it was designed and constructed, see Appendix 2.
  • 4.4.3 Ensure that all persons bringing electrical equipment onto STFC sites are able to demonstrate that it has been PAT tested prior to use. Including scientific equipment and travel adapters.
  • 4.4.4 ensure, directly or through their staff, that all electrical equipment for which they are responsible is safe to use, ensuring that when faults or defects are found, or suspected, they are taken out of service, and as appropriate reported as a Learning Opportunities (hazardous conditions/near misses), see SHE code 5, “Incident Reporting and Investigation”.
4.5 Staff, users, visitors, tenants and contractors shall:
  • 4.5.1 ensure that items of Portable Electrical Equipment are only used for the purpose for which it was intended and in the environment for which it was designed and constructed, see Appendix 2
  • 4.5.2 ensure that all new Portable Electrical Equipment is tested / inspected and that the correct label is attached prior to use. Where short term visitors bring laptop PCs to STFC sites for up to 2 days, a visual inspection of the transformer and cable by their host is sufficient to allow the temporary use of the laptop, see Appendix 2
  • 4.5.3 ​Check integrity of equipment, by visually inspecting all electrical equipment prior to use, to check for damage, loose cables, etc. See Appendix 2​.
  • 4.5.4 Do not use any electrical equipment without a test label verifying when the inspection / test took place. Each label will display the recommended frequency of test; this will be either 1 Year or 4 Years. If this period has expired then such equipment should be considered unsafe and reported to line management.
  • 4.5.5 identify and report faulty portable electrical equipment and withdraw it from service, by ensuring it cannot be used and/or is marked faulty, and as appropriate report it as a Learning Opportunity (hazardous condition) see SHE code 5, “Incident Reporting and Investigation”.
  • 4.5.6 Where RCD’s are fitted to Portable Equipment (such as extension leads) it is the user’s responsibility to test the device using the Test button (T) prior to each period of use.
4.6 ​Directors shall:
  • 4.6.1 As appropriate, and in discussion with Site Estates teams, appoint in writing (template appointment letter) sufficient Department PAT Liaison Officers to provide local contacts for the site wide PAT testing programme and PAT testers, recording their names in the ​STFC SHE Directory.
4.7 Departmental Portable Electrical Equipment (PAT)​ Liaison Officers (PLOs) shall:
  • 4.7.1 Establish a thorough understanding of the location of all portable electrical equipment within the scope of their appointment as a PLO, the constraints of such equipment’s accessibility due to operational activities, and the location of particularly sensitive portable electrical equipment for whom specific care needs to be observed when undertaking its PAT testing.
  • 4.7.2 Ensure Estates Services are informed of their appointment as an inspection and testing liaison officers and areas of responsibilities
  • 4.7.3 Act as the primary contact for the locations defined in the scope of their appointment, for site based PAT testers managed by Estates, ensuring that PAT testers are directed to all locations where portable electrical equipment is located, the location of PAT test sensitive equipment highlighted, and PAT tests undertaken.
  • 4.7.4 Report to Estates the effective completion of PAT tests within their area of responsibility and as appropriate report to Estates instances where the performance of site PAT testers falls below contracted performance or expectations.
  • 4.7.5 Where local operational constraints have prevented the completion of inspection and testing in all or part of their area of responsibility, make alternative arrangements for inspection and testing to be completed by Estate Services, or where appointed a departmental test operative.​

Contact: Baker, Gareth (STFC,DL,COO)