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PAT Testing News Round-Up - August 2011

This issue covers:

HSE consultation on cost recovery

The HSE’s plans to introduce a cost recovery scheme are under a three-month consultation period. The plans, which have already been agreed in principle with the government, will see duty holders being fined to cover the HSE’s costs for serving enforcement orders and providing health and safety remedial advice.

More details at

BAPAT forum goes live

As part of the ongoing plans for the formal launch of the new British Association of Professional Appliance Testing (BAPAT) an industry forum has now been added to the organisation’s website at

The forum hosts questions, discussion and debate on a range of PAT industry topics and technical issues – as well as providing more information on the new organisation as it takes shape.

Incidentally, for those wondering why there is no reference to British (as in the B of BAPAT) on this site it should perhaps be made clear that the current site is only temporary and the domain name is currently being used as it links to both the existing facebook and twitter feeds for the organisation. When the new association is formally launched a new site will be hosted on the server.

PAT Adaptor for 3 Phase Testing

Seaward has introduced a specialist new adaptor to extend the range of electrical safety tests that can be carried out on 3-phase equipment.

In many cases this type of industrial equipment is fitted with electronic control circuitry which makes insulation testing inappropriate. In such cases the insulation should be assessed by measurement of the protective conductor current.

The new Seaward TPA test adaptor makes this possible and allows specialist factory, industrial and workshop equipment to be included as part of in-service inspection and testing protocols as required by the IEE Code of Practice.

The specially designed new Seaward TPA unit is available with 16A or IEC 60309/ BS4343 compatible plugs and sockets allowing it to be connected in-line with the 3-phase supply to measure the current flowing in the protective conductor.

The TPA has been developed for use with the new Seaward PrimeTest 250 PAT and extends range of measurements that can be performed on 3-phase equipment using a lightweight and highly portable handheld tester.

The test adaptor is connected to the PrimeTest 250 allowing quick and easy measurement of the earth continuity without removing covers or disconnecting wires to gain access to the protective conductor in the in-coming supply. When the 3-phase appliance is operating, the protective conductor current measured by the test adaptor is shown on the PrimeTest 250 display.

The new hand held PrimeTest 250 is the first electrical tester in its class to provide all the electrical tests required for compliance with the IEE Code of Practice for the In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment – and also includes a host of other features.

These additional tests include an RCD trip time test and a 250V DC insulation test suitable for testing sensitive electrical appliances and surge protected leads.

The Seaward TPA and Primetest 250 form part of a comprehensive range of portable appliance testers and accessories that meet all workplace electrical safety testing needs. More from

What's on

NICEIC is once again hitting the road for a new series of TechTalks throughout 2011-12.

Starting in October, the half-day events enable NICEIC registered contractors to get face-to-face advice and information on a range of subjects.

Tony Cable, NICEIC’s Senior Marketing & Events Engineer, will be giving a series of technical presentations at each event, on issues such as EICR’s, amendments to BS 7671, the growing opportunities surrounding electrical cars and a host of other key industry initiatives.

NICEIC’s 2011-12 TechTalks will take place at the following locations:
TechTalk London – Tuesday 4th October 2011 – West Ham United Football Club, Upton Park
TechTalk South – Tuesday 25th October 2011 – Portsmouth Football Club, Fratton Park
TechTalk East Anglia – Tuesday 1st November 2011 – Newmarket Racecourse
TechTalk North West – Wednesday 23rd November 2011 – Wigan Football Club, DW Stadium
TechTalk Yorkshire – Thursday 24th November 2011 – York Racecourse
TechTalk Wales – Tuesday 6th December 2011 – Cardiff City Football Stadium
TechTalk Midlands – Tuesday 24th January 2012 – Birmingham City Football Club, St Andrews
TechTalk Northern Ireland – Wednesday 1st February 2012 – Everglades Hotel, Derry
TechTalk South West – Tuesday 14th February 2012 – National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth
TechTalk North East – Tuesday 6th March 2012 – Sunderland Football Club, Stadium of Light
TechTalk Scotland – Tuesday 17th April, 2012 – Livingston Football Club

Tickets for TechTalks are £20 per person but places are limited. Book online at

Your Questions Answered

Newly purchased office equipment

Q. What advice is provided for the testing of newly purchased electrical appliances for offices and other low risk areas (including desk lamps and PCs for example)?

I have a PAT testing schedule but often new items of equipment are purchased before a test is due in that particular area. It is not always possible for an electrician to get to that area to test the new item for a week or two.

Additionally I then have items which are out of sync with the scheduled test visit.

Is it acceptable to work by a procedure where office managers (or other senior staff) can carry out a visual inspection and proceed to use an item of equipment and for it to be formally inspected and tested at the next scheduled visit?

A. The requirement to test newly purchased items depends specifically on corporate policy and risk assessment. Some companies test new equipment before use whilst others put the equipment into service and don’t test until the first in-service test is due.

I am not aware of any particular requirements to test new equipment before it is placed in service. The Electricity at Work Regulations require that reasonably practicable steps are taken to prevent danger. If equipment has been CE marked then the manufacturer is stating that it complies with all relevant EU Directives, including those relating to electrical safety. If the equipment is CE marked, has been tested at the end of manufacture and has not suffered any damage during transit then it should be electrically safe when you receive it.

Your office managers could check for the CE mark during their initial inspection and check for signs of damage, for example, during shipping. It would be prudent to keep a record of these visual inspections.

However, some organisations carry out tests on all new equipment. This typically includes recording and numbering the item, test it and then retest with the next scheduled test. The other advantage to testing a newly aquired item is it can then be issued with an asset number and becomes logged onto your testing database. From a PAT point of view, testing schedules can become difficult to manage if new items are brought into an organisation without being registered and/or recorded in the correct manner.

3 Phase equipment

Q. Can I use conventional PAT testers to test three phase equipment?

A. The primary electrical tests specified by the IEE Code of Practice are earth continuity and insulation resistance. Both of these tests can be carried out on three phase electrical appliances and equipment with PAT testers using a special adapter. Protective conductor/touch current tests cannot be carried out as three phase equipment cannot be powered from the single phase supply available from the PAT tester.



















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