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Portable Appliance Test (PAT)

  • An electrical test to ensure that plugs on portable appliances are safe.  This is necessary due to the additional stress to cabling when plugging in and unplugging appliances.
  • Loose strands of wire can cause short circuiting and potentially death.  Visually inspect and correct any defects.
  • Continuity testing is important to ensure the metal surface of e.g. a washing machine is not live.  This can happen when the live wire is poorly connected and is making erroneous contact with the earth.
  • Such problems can occur at:
    • the plug wiring,
    • the appliance wiring
    • or inside the insulating cable connecting the appliance to the plug
  • Ideally testing should be conducted annually or following each tenancy termination as tenants can interfere or damage previously safe connections.
  • Washing machines, clothes irons and vacuum cleaners are most frequent offenders as they vibrate and or "move or walk" often 'nicking' outer insulation making it unsafe.
  • Regular checking reduces the likelihood of injury.
Published: 11 November 2013 Last Updated: 18 November 2021