There a lot of misleading information surrounding PAT testing at golf clubs so what is the true story regarding all those sticky labels on our electrical equipment? Portable appliance testing (PAT) is the term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use. Most electrical safety defects can be found by visual examination, but some types of defect can only be found by testing. However, it is essential to understand that visual examination is an essential part of the process because some types of electrical safety defect can't be detected by testing alone. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 requires that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. However, the Regulations do not specify what needs to be done, by whom or how frequently (i.e. they don't make inspection or testing of electrical appliances a legal requirement, nor do they make it a legal requirement to undertake this annually). However, you may wish to check the club’s insurance policy as the insurers may have stipulated a testing schedule. There is also no legal requirement to label equipment that has been inspected or tested, nor is there a requirement to keep records of these activities. However, a record and/or labelling can be a useful management tool for monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the maintenance scheme – and to demonstrate that a scheme exists. New equipment should be supplied in a safe condition and not require a formal portable appliance inspection or test. However, a simple visual check is recommended to verify the item is not damaged. The person doing testing work needs to be competent to do it. In many low-risk environments, a sensible (competent) member of staff can undertake visual inspections if they have enough knowledge and training. However, when undertaking combined inspection and testing, a greater level of knowledge and experience is needed, and the person will need: the right equipment to do the tests the ability to use this test equipment properly the ability to properly understand the test results For further information on electricity testing visit library document 6099 Electrical Inspections and Testing and visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/index.htm.
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