PAT Testing Course - Parker Bell - PAT Testing Fundamentals

PAT Testing Fundamentals.


Hello and welcome! Our course is designed to provide you with an overview of PAT testing; showing you how easy it can be.

We will guide you each step of the way. From the use of a PAT tester, to the completion of a portable appliance record and from guides and regulations to labels.

Module One - What is PAT Testing?

PAT Testing stands for Portable Appliance Testing. Portable appliance testing is the inspection of portable electrical appliances. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, both employer and employee have a duty of care in providing and maintaining safe electrical equipment. Electricity at Work Regulations also requires that ‘systems shall be maintained’ in order to reduce danger.

There are free guide’s available from the Health & Safety Executive website called “Maintaining Portable Electrical equipment in low-risk environments, INDG236” (Google ‘INDG236’) and HSG107 (Google ‘HSG107’). You can also buy the Code of Practice for in-service inspection and testing of Electrical Equipment from the IET (Institute of Engineering & Technology).

Module Two - Who can PAT Test?

The Health and Safety Executive say that any competent people can PAT Test. The definition of competent is ‘having the necessary ability, knowledge, or skill to do something successfully’; so providing you understand what you are doing and why you are doing it, anyone can PAT Test.

You do not need to be an electrician to carry out PAT Testing. But, you will need to understand what checks you need to make as part of an inspection.  We will go on to explain what checks you need to carry out when testing, but you will need to familiarise yourself with any requirements specific to your industry. For example, if you work on a construction site, portable appliances need to be inspected every 3 months.

What is a PAT tester?

In its simplest form, it’s a machine that performs two primary functions. These are to test the integrity of the earth wire where there is one, and to test the integrity of the appliance’s basic insulation and where applicable, additional insulation.

They are designed to test electrical appliances and leads. Appliances are classified as either a Class I or a Class II.

A Class I appliance has an earth wire and a Class II appliance does not.

Module Three - Why should you PAT Test?

There is no specific law that says you must PAT Test. The legal requirement is merely that you ‘regularly inspect & maintain’.

Should an accident occur in the workplace, you would then be obliged to explain your process for carrying out maintenance and inspections. Without documented, standardised and robust business procedures, you are unlikely to be able to demonstrate best practice. Additionally, many insurers now routinely expect companies to PAT Test.

PAT Testing is a standardised procedure for checking appliances and combines a visual inspection to check the outside of an appliance, and an internal check using a PAT Test machine (PAT Tester).

Module Four - When should you PAT Test?

Frequency of PAT Testing is determined by risk. Every business owner needs to decide a programme of inspection and PAT Testing that they feel is suitable for their business.

Guidance is available from the HSE Government free publication INDG236, and we advise that you also seek clarification from the IET Code of Practice In-service Inspection and testing of Electrical Equipment.

These suggest the intervals at which checking should be done, as we have previously mentioned in the case of construction sites. Consideration should also be given to the environment in which appliances are used, the frequency of use, and who is using them.

It makes sense to ensure that you have assigned a risk to each appliance and review this periodically.


1- Cables, leads and plugs attached to Class II appliances need to be maintained as part of the equipment. Any Cables, leads and plugs not dedicated to the appliance must be maintained independently.

2 – Over time you will be able to see patterns emerging indicating whether you need to test more or less frequently, depending on the number and type of faults found. Your frequency of inspection should be adjusted to reflect this.

3 – If you choose to group all your items to be tested at the same interval, you should test with the shortest frequency for all the items, and not the longest. It may be easier to group appliances by the test frequency required. 

Module Five - Introducing the PB500
Module Six - The visual inspection and how to determine the Class of an Appliance

Module Seven - Testing a Class I Appliance

Module Eight - Testing a Class II Appliance

Module Nine - Testing an IEC lead

Module Ten - Testing an extension lead

Module Eleven - Keeping and maintaining records

In each of the DVD chapters you have viewed, we have talked about recording test results and applying a PASS label on any appliance that has successfully completed the visual inspection and PAT Test. It is important to ensure that the label is fixed on the appliance so that it can be easily seen. By keeping and maintaining records, you can demonstrate that you are inspecting according to a schedule that is acceptable to the company owner, insurer or any other interested party. Records should include the following:

Equipment register – This is a record of all your portable electrical appliances and should contain the following information:

  • Appliance ID No – A unique identification reference given to an appliance
  • Appliance Type – A description of the appliance
  • Location – Where the located / used
  • Serial Number – Record the Manufacturers Serial Number

Test Report

  • Appliance ID No – Where you record the Appliance ID (assigned as above) for the test record
  • Description – A description of the appliance, Make / Model etc.
  • Class – Whether the appliance is Class I, II, Cord, lead etc.
  • Location – Where the appliance is used
  • Date – Test Date
  • Full details of the visual inspection that you have completed
  • PAT Test results and values
  • Overall PAT Test Outcome Pass or Fail
Module Twelve - Appliance failure

When an appliance fails the visual inspection or the PAT Test itself, the appliance must be labelled as failed and taken out of circulation so that it cannot continue to be used.

If you are able to repair the fault you may do so, but before that, the appliance must be removed from use until the repair is complete. (For example if a plug is cracked and needs replacing but you don’t have one to hand).

Everyday users of an appliance should always visually check it before use. If the appliance is damaged, remove it from use and inform a supervisor.

Module Thirteen - Course review

We hope you found the introductory course useful. PAT testing is very straightforward if applied logically.

Remember the steps

  1. A visual inspection
  2. A PAT test
  3. A functional test
  4. Labelling and record-keeping

Test your knowledge.

Take the course test.

If you’ve completed all the modules then take the test below to finish the course. We’ll email you the results and any score over 90% is eligible for a certificate of completion.

To start the test simply click on the title or blue icon.

IMPORTANT: Please make sure you fill in all required fields, otherwise the examination will not submit.  (Required questions are marked with a *.)

PAT Testing Course Exam

Company Information


Supplying PAT Testing Equipment to Care Homes, Hotels, Holidays Parks, Schools, Universities, Vets, Doctors, Dentists, Offices, Construction Workers, Charities and many more for over 20 years - We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and reliable easy to use equipment.

Contact Us


Parker Bell Instruments Ltd,
2 Newbery Centre,
Exeter Airport,
Devon EX5 2UL

Telephone: +44 (0)1392 364933 


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