PAT Testing Frequency: Guidelines for Ensuring Electrical Safety.

The frequency of Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) varies depending on the type of equipment and its usage environment. Here are some general guidelines to help ensure electrical safety through appropriate PAT testing intervals:

1. Office Equipment

  • Low-Risk Equipment (e.g., Computers, Printers)
    • Frequency: Every 2-4 years.
    • Rationale: Office equipment typically experiences less wear and tear, reducing the risk of faults.
  • High-Risk Equipment (e.g., Portable Heaters, Kettles)
    • Frequency: Annually.
    • Rationale: These items are subject to more frequent use and potential damage, necessitating more regular testing.

2. Industrial Equipment

  • Stationary Equipment
    • Frequency: Every 1-2 years.
    • Rationale: While stationary equipment is less prone to damage from movement, it is often used heavily and in harsher environments.
  • Portable Equipment
    • Frequency: Every 6 months to 1 year.
    • Rationale: Portable equipment in industrial settings is frequently moved and used in demanding conditions, increasing the risk of damage and faults.

3. Public Buildings (e.g., Schools, Hospitals)

  • Commonly Used Equipment
    • Frequency: Annually.
    • Rationale: Equipment in public buildings is often used by many different people, increasing the likelihood of wear and damage.
  • Critical Equipment (e.g., Medical Devices)
    • Frequency: Every 6 months to 1 year.
    • Rationale: The safety and reliability of critical equipment are paramount, requiring more frequent inspections.

4. Residential Rental Properties

  • Landlord-Provided Appliances
    • Frequency: Annually or at the change of tenancy.
    • Rationale: Ensuring the safety of tenants by regularly checking all appliances provided by the landlord.

5. Construction Sites

  • All Equipment
    • Frequency: Every 3 months.
    • Rationale: Construction sites are high-risk environments with heavy usage of portable tools and equipment, necessitating frequent safety checks.

6. Retail and Hospitality

  • Customer-Accessible Equipment (e.g., Vending Machines, Hairdryers in Hotels)
    • Frequency: Every 6 months to 1 year.
    • Rationale: Equipment accessible to the public must be regularly tested to ensure it is safe to use.
  • Staff-Only Equipment
    • Frequency: Annually.
    • Rationale: Regular testing ensures that equipment used by staff remains safe and operational.

Factors Influencing PAT Testing Frequency

  • Environment: Equipment used in harsher or high-risk environments should be tested more frequently.
  • Usage: Frequently used or moved equipment is more prone to damage and should be tested more often.
  • Type of Equipment: Portable equipment generally requires more frequent testing compared to stationary equipment.
  • Manufacturer’s Recommendations: Always consider the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance and testing intervals.

Establishing a Testing Schedule

  1. Conduct a Risk Assessment
    • Evaluate the type of equipment, its usage, and the environment to determine appropriate testing intervals.
  2. Implement a Maintenance Log
    • Keep detailed records of all PAT tests, including dates, results, and any corrective actions taken.
  3. Review and Adjust
    • Periodically review the testing schedule and adjust based on changes in equipment use, new risk assessments, or regulatory updates.


The frequency of PAT testing should be tailored to the specific needs of the equipment and its usage environment. By following these guidelines and conducting regular risk assessments, you can ensure the electrical safety of appliances, comply with legal requirements, and protect users from potential hazards. Regular PAT testing is an essential part of a comprehensive electrical safety program.