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Pat Testing UK

On-Line Guide to portable appliance testing (pat testing) in the UK.

What is Pat Testing?

Pat testing is an abbreviation of Portable Appliance Testing.

Portable Appliance Testing is a process by which your equipment is inspected and tested to see if it is safe. It usually means that the equipment is carefully inspected (including checking the cable and plug as well as the appliance) followed by electrical tests to verify the earth bond and insulation.

Every year in the UK, about 30 people die from coming into contact with electricity and many more people receive serious injuries. About 25% of these accidents occur as a result of using portable appliances. By pat testing your electrical equipment, you should be able to spot faults before they have a chance to harm anyone.

The vast majority of faults on electrical appliances can be found just by looking at the appliance (cracked plug, damaged cable etc) and so each appliance should be INSPECTED very carefully as part of the checking process. Sometimes, a fault might exist internally (such as an earth wire not connected properly) and this fault can be detected by carrying out an electrical test. For this, a PAT Testing Machine is needed.


Why is it called pat testing?

Surely the phrase 'pat testing' is wrong?

Ah - the big question! No, you haven't heard wrong. It is called 'Portable Appliance Testing', and so the natural abbreviation is 'PAT.' So if you hear anyone say pat testing, they are in effect saying 'Portable Appliance Testing Testing!' If you're interested, this is known as a tautology - unnecessary repitition - just as people sometims say 'LCD Display'. The phrase 'pat testing' is so common in the electrical industry that we are happy to refer to it as this, even though we know it would be better to say 'Portable Appliance Testing' or just 'PAT'.


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