PAT Testing


ETM Ltd are experts in the field of PAT Testing.

Electrical Test Midlands was originally set-up to cater to the complicated, and ever changing, sector of electrical testing.

Our input within the industry has grown and our amount of experience allows us to interpret, and respond to, the ever-changing UK legislations and regulations that abound the PAT testing industry. Which is probably why we are continually awarded major PAT testing contracts across the UK.

pat testing header

Portable appliance testing is vital in order to prevent your business premises becoming a source of legal liability, injury or, at the worst end of the scale, loss of lives. Employee safety should always be a major consideration within any business – although the occurrence of electrical accidents within the workplace is still all too common.

This is where we step in, to ensure that your business premises is running with full electrical compliance. Giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are not likely to fall victim to legal claims involving faulty machinery, a PC monitor with a loose connection, or even just from the use of a simple Kettle.

The testing procedure, itself, is not daunting or intrusive, and is carried out by ETM engineers in a very flexible and understanding manner. We know PAT testing and electrical safety is vitally important – but, equally so to us, is the efficient running of your business. Therefore, we go out of our way to maintain your business flow throughout the entire testing procedure.


Let us take the load

Our PAT Testing engineers will arrive at your premises with their testing tools pre-loaded with your business details. Each of your electrical appliances are tested and each one will be issued it’s own unique bar-code. Upon passing or failing a test the appliance is appropriately labelled and the details of this recorded.

After our engineers have completed the testing stage, they return to head-office to download and prepare your asset register and pass/fail certification and put together reference to any remedial work that was flagged up during inspection. If required, we can then return to rectify any problematic appliances – ensuring you of a compliant workplace and saving you from an electrical appliance related legal claim.

Require PAT Testing within your business? Call the experts, and one of our friendly team will be happy to advise you on how we can help. 0800 066 3227

Fixed Wiring Electrical Inspection


Fixed wiring in-service electrical inspections, why they are necessary and how they can

benefit your business.

Helping you to understand your responsibilities

Electrical Test Midlands  – sharing technical expertise

It’s a near certainty that your business uses electrical power in

some way. Therefore, in order to manage risks and comply with

the law, your fixed wiring needs to be inspected regularly. Meeting

this requirement effectively, and ensuring that the benefits

outweigh the costs, requires you to be familiar with the concept of

fixed wiring inspection, and to know what approach to take.

Bear in mind, according to the HSE’s website (

electricity), about 1,000 people per year have an electrical

accident and about 25 of those are fatal.


The independent safety inspection industry tends to categorise

electrical equipment and systems as follows:

  • PAT – Portable Appliance Testing – for items like kettles.
  • Plant – for items such as motors, welding equipment, fans and

air conditioning units

  • Fixed wiring – all the equipment required to distribute electrical

power safely from the origin to all the plant, equipment and

appliances at the relevant site. Fixed wiring includes conductors

(e.g. cables and cords), connections (e.g. distribution boards),

switching devices, protective devices (e.g. fuses, circuit breakers

and residual current devices – RCDs), enclosures and, where

applicable, fire barriers.

Fixed wiring’s broad definition means that its inspection can

encompass little or much. At its simplest, the inspection is a

non-intrusive visual check of accessible components such as

distribution boards, sockets, cables, cords and light fittings.

At its most thorough, it could comprise the following:

? An appraisal of the job, featuring:

  • Job-specific risk assessment
  • Survey and testing of the installation’s earthing,

continuity, insulation, polarity, layout and

accessibility arrangements

  • Enquiries to determine the degree to which parts

of the system can be isolated

  • Review of available documentation

? Visual check of all accessible components

? Labelling, i.e. unique identification of circuits

? Functional tests to check whether all the relevant

components do what they are supposed to do

? Thermographic testing to quickly detect hidden defects as

‘hot-spots’ in the system

? Clear reporting – publishing circuit diagrams, all test

results and a summary of any defects with actions

recommended to make safe.


Electrical Test Midlands  sharing technical expertise

A balance always has to be struck between inspection and

maintenance. Too little inspection/repair, and the risk will be too

great; too much inspection/repair and the cost will be too great.

Of course, the more preventative your maintenance, the lower

the reliance on in-service inspection and repair to control risks

in the first place. You will need to strike a balance between

inspection and maintenance (repair) activities that you are

comfortable with.

Another important consideration is whether you use the same

inspectors for maintenance or perform maintenance independently.

You will also need to choose whether to subcontract or go

in-house, the depth and frequency of the inspection (and

maintenance); and the degree of detail in the inspection reports.

You may simply wish to add electrical inspection to whatever

in-service inspection arrangements you have for other items,

such as your lifting equipment.

Deciding on the depth and frequency of inspection, and the

detail of reports, may be more difficult. The decision needs to be

based on a potentially complex interaction between inspection

activities, maintenance activities, production requirements, and

stakeholder expectations.

In our view: if you are not already doing so, you should make use

of risk-based inspection (RBI) techniques to determine the approach

that you take for the in-service inspection and maintenance of your

fixed wiring.

You should not be too daunted by the thought of applying RBI. The

rigour applied to the RBI assessment should be commensurate with

the scale of the electrical risk at your premises and it might not take

too much effort to complete.

Generally, the benefits of RBI outweigh the cost. RBI delivers a

specification for an inspection and maintenance regime that is

suitable and sufficient and optimises the risk-control-per-unit cost.

A suite of test methods and required outcomes are specified in

detail in the British Standard BS 7671: 2008, often referred to as

the IEE Wiring Regulations. In fact, the requirements of this

standard are not regulations in the legal sense.

The frequency and scope of your in-service fixed wiring

inspections should always be determined by an assessment

of the risks.

BS 7671: 2008 does provide guidance on both frequency and scope

of inspection for low voltage installations (less than 1,000V a.c.

or 1,500V d.c.), based on criteria like the type of premises:

e.g. ‘Three-yearly for a factory and five-yearly for offices.’

Note: this British Standard does not cover the public electricity

supply, electricity on vehicles, nor fixed wiring in quarries, mines

and other hazardous areas (where there is an explosion risk).


Electrical test midlands – sharing technical expertise

Repairs and conflict of interest

Regarding repairs, the in-service inspection contractor may be

prohibited from undertaking repairs. For example, Etm is a electrical compliance company.

The risks and benefits

A few mA of electrical current can be fatal and the

mains voltage (230V a.c.) should always be considered

potentially fatal.

The principal hazard associated with fixed wiring is electric shock.

However, other hazards should be considered, including burns,

arcing (which can damage the eyes) and ignition – setting fires or

creating explosions if flammable/explosive materials are present.

What is at stake, of course, is the health and safety of people and

significant financial and business losses. So the benefits are clear:

control the risk to control the cost.

The law

The law says that all employers must safeguard the health and

safety of all people affected by their undertaking and, in the UK,

it is a criminal offence to fail in this duty of care.

Fundamentally, employers are required to assess the risks associated

with their business and manage those risks at a tolerably low level.

More specifically, employers are required to comply with applicable

regulations; often a large number of them.

For fixed wiring, the specific regulations are the Electricity at Work

Regulations, 1989 (EAW). The HSE has issued a very useful

document, which is freely available to download from their

website, entitled ‘Memorandum of Guidance on the Electricity

at Work Regulations, 1989.’

You will note that this guidance is non-prescriptive,

in keeping with the goal-setting format of the

regulations, which means that maintenance is a

statutory requirement, but the scope and frequency

of maintenance and inspection should be risk-based:

i.e. suitable and sufficient.

In spelling-out the requirements of the EAW regulations, the

HSE guidance makes it clear that fixed wiring shall be maintained

so as to prevent danger (so far as is reasonably practicable) and

that regular in-service inspection is an ‘essential’ part of

preventative maintenance.

For prescription, you can turn to the British Standard mentioned

above (BS 7671: 2008). Remember: This British Standard is

comprised of non-statutory regulations.


For more information

Should you require any further guidance, please contact:

(Etm) Electrical Test Midlands on 01922 710014