PAT Testing

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PAT Testing

Post by Evonet on Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:46 am

Could PAT Testing be dangerous??

It is widely believed that annual Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is now mandatory in many situations (though in fact, this isn’t true – see http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/faq-portable-appliance-testing.htm ).  However, if it is done properly by a competent electrician, how could it actually be dangerous?

Of course, there is nothing particularly dangerous about PAT testing itself (or indeed any kind of testing), if properly done.  The danger arises from the attitude it engenders in the appliance user. An unfortunate side-effect of my paying someone to undertake safety checks is that I will take less responsibility for my own safety and the safety of those close to me.

Consider a simple example where PAT testing doesn’t help.  While cooking, I accidentally spill some olive oil into the toaster.   I then need to make a judgement based on how much I have spilled and where exactly I spilled it, as to whether I have made the toaster unsafe.  Is it going to electrocute me? – probably not.  Is it going to catch fire at some time in the future? - possibly.  Having a PAT test done a year ago (or even two days ago) is not going to help me with that judgement.

An increasingly common approach is to say that I don’t trust my own judgement any more, and so when even the slightest damage happens to my appliance, I will throw it away and buy a new one.  This is expensive, unnecessary, and very wasteful of our natural resources.

I need to practise common sense in everything I do, and recognise that it is not possible to live in an environment in which one has paid others to ensure that everything is safe.  In the jargon of the legislation, I need to undertake a risk assessment whenever I use an appliance or tool.  This doesn’t mean I have to fill in a form and get someone else to sign it, but it does mean that I should stop for just a moment before I start, consider what might happen if I slipped or something broke, and take whatever steps I can to reduce the impact of that.  I should learn to do this automatically, and practise it every day.

I also need to recognise that when something unfortunate does happen, it is more likely to be through my poor judgement than some fault or design weakness of the product.  Suing the manufacturer for my stupidity or carelessness is not likely to help anyone except the lawyers, and it won’t mend my injury.

Evonet

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Re: PAT Testing

Post by andyc on Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:35 pm

That was very well put!

PAT testing is an interesting topic to me at the moment as Sheffield Repair Cafe have just been given a PAT tester on long term loan. the prooblem is these machines have to be calibrated occasionally and ours needs doing. At least that's what it says when it gets switched on.

One thing I don't like about PAT testing is I strongly believe that recent legislations etc are a bit of an overkill. certain items will technically fail a PAT test, even though they seem perfectly safe to me. A good example of this is old 3 pin plugs that din't have an insulated bit on the live and neutral prongs. The nanny state brigade say these plugs are dangerous because you can put your fingers around them and touch the prongs as you pull them out of the socket. However I say you should have the intelligence to switch the socket off before you unplug anything and don't turn it on again until something else is properly plugged in.

The more health & safety legislation we have the less intelligent the workforce becomes. They now wait for ages to get paperwork signed in triplicate to tell them it's ok to do a job, rather than using their own senses to weigh up the situation for themselves. Meanwhile the job takes twice as long as it should and costs 4 times the original price!

Everyone should definitely take more responsibility for themselves and stop passing blaime onto others.

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Re: PAT Testing

Post by Evonet on Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:09 pm

Thank you for the support, Andy! Smile

As a parent, I see my task being to expose my kids to risk in a measured way, to ensure that they are competent to make their own judgments, when I am no longer around to supervise. I have to do this in such a way that they experience what happens when you get it wrong, but don't suffer any lasting consequences. My task as a parent is NOT to protect my children from all risk. I'm afraid I believe that in treating us like children, the nanny state has got this quite wrong.

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Re: PAT Testing

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