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Is PAT dead?

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Is PAT dead?

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:11 pm

I was in a Scope shop today and there was a video/audio mixer thing in a box with all its leads and a wall rat with a plastic earth pin.

I took it to the counter to check the price and the girl went into something of a flummox and called over another lady. She had a rummage then pronounced "Not been PAT tested we can't sell it"

I said I was willing to risk it but she would not budge then another chap, around ten yrs younger than me piped up. "PAT testing is all finished, you don't need to do it anymore." He sounded as if he knew what he was talking about and in fact I thought I recognised him from my time 'in the trade'
No matter, still coudn't buy it!

So, is PAT a deceased parrot?

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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby Wonks » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:23 pm

It's still on the HSE website, but it's never been compulsory. The obligation for an employer to maintain equipment safely is, though. It all comes down to an employer's risk assessment as to what they deem appropriate checking measures.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/faq-p ... esting.htm
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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:35 pm

ef37a wrote:... She had a rummage then pronounced "Not been PAT tested we can't sell it" I said I was willing to risk it but she would not budge ...

Quite right, too!

There is a legal requirement to ensure that all electrical goods sold to the public are safe. A PAT test is one recognised way of determining that, and all Charity shops I've experienced have the same policy (I PAT test some electrical goods for the Headway charity shop where Mrs R works as a volunteer).

If the product hadn't been tested yet, the sales staff couldn't guarantee that it was safe, and so would potentially render themselves liable should an accident occur. So it would be against their policy to sell it.

I don't understand why it was on display if it hadn't been checked though... that seems a bit silly! But if it was something you especially wanted I'm sure they would have reserved it for you pending the test....

... "PAT testing is all finished, you don't need to do it anymore."

You've never 'needed' to do PAT testing...

...but businesses do have to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989), the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998), and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)... and various aspects of all those dribble over into the retail of electrical goods...

PAT testing (by a suitably trained and competent person ) is a formally recognised way of demonstrating compliance with all those regulations...

So, is PAT a deceased parrot?

Nope, it's still alive and well, and pining for the Norwegian fjords... Lovely bird the Norwegian Blue.... :lol:

EDIT: As usual, Wonks has said the same thing far more efficiently! :-)
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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby DGL. » Wed Nov 13, 2019 3:17 pm

As it gives me work, at work in February I would most definitely say it is not dead, and long may it not be.
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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:04 pm

But if it had a low voltage wall rat that os the only part that could be/needed PAT certifying. Perhaps you should go back with your credentials and offer to test it for them?

I'll bet they still won't sell it to you though.......
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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby Folderol » Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:28 pm

Scope probes are a weird case. They don't directly have any high voltage parts, but are designed to be used on them.
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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby Luke W » Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:53 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I'll bet they still won't sell it to you though.......

Probably not, but although it may be annoying in some cases it's understandable.

I quite often have a bit of a rant about PAT testing (I'm very fun to be around) and I've seen some places/people using kit that's in a very questionable condition simply because of the old "It's got the sticker on so it must be fine!" attitude.

Not so much a problem with PAT testing as how it's applied, and how it can end up being seen by some as the be-all and end-all of electrical safety. I'm sure people on here aren't in need of convincing though, so I'll give it a rest. :thumbup:
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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:07 pm

I can almost feel the burgeoning rant from here, Luke! :lol:

But you're right. A lot of people think a green sticker means it's safe for life... when all it actually means is that it was safe on the day it was tested... and a lot of damage could have occurred since then! :silent:
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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:22 pm

And any 'competent person' experienced in this work will tell you that the visual inspection throws up 90+% of fails even before they get the machine out.
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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:01 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I can almost feel the burgeoning rant from here, Luke! :lol:

But you're right. A lot of people think a green sticker means it's safe for life... when all it actually means is that it was safe on the day it was tested... and a lot of damage could have occurred since then! :silent:

Rather like an MOT? Mind you, most RTCs are caused by a nut holding the steering wheel.

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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby DGL. » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:16 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:And any 'competent person' experienced in this work will tell you that the visual inspection throws up 90+% of fails even before they get the machine out.

And if it's an all plastic affair with no exposed metal work then a visual inspection is all that's done.

It always irks me when I see passed stickers on low voltage equipment and not on the devices PSU.
Also what annoys me is our Seward PrimeTest 50, aka my first PAT. Only a pass/fail readout so not only do you not know how much something has failed by you also can't test long extension leads as whilst the earth resistance will be within limits the machine will fail it :x Much prefer (although the battery power of the PT50 is handy) our old Fluke 6200.

Kettles are fun though, plastic ones especially. Trying to get through the scale to get a good connection can be tough sometimes. Oh and fridges, rear drip tray full of water, check, spillage when fridge is pulled out, check, cold + wet socks from stepping in said water, unfortunately also check :(
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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby wireman » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:05 pm

It looks like there is no obligation on a retailer of NEW products to test them. However the retailer (distributor) cannot supply products they have reason to expect are not safe and can't act to reduce safety (by removing instructions/warnings for example).

https://www.businesscompanion.info/en/quick-guides/product-safety/general-product-safety-distributors

As for PAT testing by a business using new products, even then guidance says the expectation is that new products are safe and nothing more than a visual inspection is needed.

If the produts are second-hand it would be prudent to check them.
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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:24 am

DGL. wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:And any 'competent person' experienced in this work will tell you that the visual inspection throws up 90+% of fails even before they get the machine out.

And if it's an all plastic affair with no exposed metal work then a visual inspection is all that's done.

It always irks me when I see passed stickers on low voltage equipment and not on the devices PSU.
Also what annoys me is our Seward PrimeTest 50, aka my first PAT. Only a pass/fail readout so not only do you not know how much something has failed by you also can't test long extension leads as whilst the earth resistance will be within limits the machine will fail it :x Much prefer (although the battery power of the PT50 is handy) our old Fluke 6200.

Kettles are fun though, plastic ones especially. Trying to get through the scale to get a good connection can be tough sometimes. Oh and fridges, rear drip tray full of water, check, spillage when fridge is pulled out, check, cold + wet socks from stepping in said water, unfortunately also check :(

I have ended up with a couple of PAT machines, a recent Seward pass/fail battery powered jobbie (which I bought used) which is super convenient and a much older Seward (inherited off an electrician mate, now gone) that allows for adjustment of certain parameters like earth resistance to allow for 20 metre extension cables. The AVO can check the long cables earth path though so the big machine rarely gets used*.

* FWIW I only do my own kit these days, for my own piece of mind and to have records if asked.
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Re: Is PAT dead?

Postby pilot-wave » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:42 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:
DGL. wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:And any 'competent person' experienced in this work will tell you that the visual inspection throws up 90+% of fails even before they get the machine out.

And if it's an all plastic affair with no exposed metal work then a visual inspection is all that's done.

It always irks me when I see passed stickers on low voltage equipment and not on the devices PSU.
Also what annoys me is our Seward PrimeTest 50, aka my first PAT. Only a pass/fail readout so not only do you not know how much something has failed by you also can't test long extension leads as whilst the earth resistance will be within limits the machine will fail it :x Much prefer (although the battery power of the PT50 is handy) our old Fluke 6200.

Kettles are fun though, plastic ones especially. Trying to get through the scale to get a good connection can be tough sometimes. Oh and fridges, rear drip tray full of water, check, spillage when fridge is pulled out, check, cold + wet socks from stepping in said water, unfortunately also check :(

I have ended up with a couple of PAT machines, a recent Seward pass/fail battery powered jobbie (which I bought used) which is super convenient and a much older Seward (inherited off an electrician mate, now gone) that allows for adjustment of certain parameters like earth resistance to allow for 20 metre extension cables. The AVO can check the long cables earth path though so the big machine rarely gets used*.

* FWIW I only do my own kit these days, for my own piece of mind and to have records if asked.

A bit late to this thread, but the above all rings very familiar having taken the PAT course earlier this year and since then working as a part time volunteer at a largish and very busy charity shop. I'm restricted to the shop tester (a fairly basic Seaward Prime Test 100) so certain items don't make it through to the shelves. For instance, microwave ovens aren't dealt with and sold. Kettles and irons (with coatings on the metal work) typically require extra contact bite from the earth test probe for a reliable pass/fail result.

A surprising amount of stuff seems to defy a clear Class 1 or 2 appliance status (missing/indistinct/seemingly contradictory labels etc) or plastic casing prevents a standard test. Sometimes with cheap items, despite a clear class label, 'good' condition and a test 'pass', I deem them too poorly manufactured for a safe sale.

The opening post mentions an untested item for sale. The busy shop I work in as the one-day-a week sole PAT tester (no more time available unfortunately) has been under staffed for several months now which results in our initially efficient processing system being overwhelmed by an incoming tsunami build-up of electrical goods... so much superfluous 'stuff' and tat that people don't really need for a happy life. Of course, we're grateful for most of it.

It has taken me a while not fret too much over some great items that, given a little time and attention, could be redeemable, safely tested and recycled for a usefully extended life rather than contributing to a probable landfill outcome. But this 'greener' option takes too much time in what is just another time-is-money 'competitive' business environment. The material waste in our society is staggering.

So in a large busy shop with under staffing, newbie volunteers (especially), absence through illness, etc, and in the face of a relentless donation input, you can quite easily end up with untested stuff accidentally ending up on the selling shelves. All I can do in the present situation is spread the message to look for item plugs with a pass label, appropriate date and my initials on it.
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