At R D Nelmes Electrical we are experienced in testing electrical appliances in the home to make sure that they are safe and in the best working condition. Making sure electrical appliances are safe is a regulatory requirement for businesses and is good practice at home.

 What is PAT?

The Government’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) website describes portable appliance testing (PAT) as simply ‘the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use’. The government guidelines imply that there are 3 levels of examinations for electrical equipment:

  1. A user check – A simple user check is a useful part of maintaining electrical equipment. This could include checking whether appliances are working and whether cables and plugs are in good condition.

  2. A formal visual inspection – A more formal visual inspection can be carried out by a trained and knowledgeable member of staff.

  3. A combined inspection & test (PAT) – A thorough test using specialised equipment producing measurable results.


Numerous factors need to be considered when choosing which examination is appropriate for each electrical appliance and when they should be conducted.

The person who conducts the tests needs to be competent and have the appropriate knowledge base to ensure all appliances are safe. In most ‘low-risk environments’, such as offices, it is fine for a practical member of staff to conduct user checks and visual inspections if they have received appropriate training. However, for the full PAT combined inspection and testing it is sensible to use somebody who has a greater level of skill and knowledge.