PAT Testing Equipment Calibration – What’s Involved?
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is a process routinely followed in the UK. This process includes inspecting electrical appliances to ensure their safety, especially for employees using these appliances on a regular basis. PAT testing is a part of health and safety regulations in the UK.
The frequency of the tests largely depends on the kind of equipment used and the environment around it. In case of low risk businesses like shops and hotels, these procedures rarely require the detailed maintenance and surveys advertised and offered by many companies.
PAT testing process
The first step in any PAT testing process is the visual inspection. After carefully assessing the condition of the casing, switches, plugs and even the kind of environment in which the appliance is used, the second part of the testing procedure includes electrical tests.
These tests are cautiously conducted using specially designed equipment to check for any flaws in the equipment. Electrical tests ensure the condition of the earth bond which can prevent serious electrocution, the quality of insulation in the appliance, and they can also evaluate the power consumption of an appliance.
Once the PAT testing procedure is complete, each appliance tested is labelled with PAT testing labels that give varied information. These bar coded labels carry information like the test date, re-test date, engineers’ ID and the pass or fail status of the tests. They also offer safety warnings if necessary.
PAT testing units need to be calibrated regularly. Since these testers are rather sophisticated instruments, their performance and accuracy need to be regularly gauged. This process ensures precise readings and measurements.
When a company fails to regularly check and maintain equipment calibration, it would be a challenge to substantiate the equipment’s measurements in case of disputes and claims.
A PAT tester is reconfigured to match its original specification when it is calibrated. Since this reconfiguration process involves calibrating the tester back to its national standards, it is always best to rely on the tester’s manufacturer to perform this reconfiguration.
Alternatively, an UKAS accredited laboratory too can undertake this process. If the tester unit is powered by a main, a safety test should also be carried out. On completion, a calibration certificate is issued for the PAT testing unit stating that it has been electronically tested.
Why is it important to calibrate PAT testing equipment?
In order to ensure that all your PAT testing equipment are functioning well and providing you with accurate measurements, it is necessary to have them calibrated annually or at regular intervals as per the manufacturer’s specifications.
Conducting PAT tests with poorly maintained equipment is rather pointless. Faulty equipment would fail to identify the faults in electrical appliances which could very well endanger your employees’ safety or cause damage to your property.
To make things easier for you, most manufacturers offer calibration services as well. They also offer extended warranties that ensure regular calibration service for your PAT testing equipment.