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The routine inspection and testing of portable, electrical appliances (or equipment), is an important safety requirement.

Testing of portable electrical equipment

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Any item of electrical current using equipment that is plugged into a socket outlet.
The HSE strategy suggests user checks, backed up by formal visual inspection and combined inspection and test.


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User check

The user of the equipment should be encouraged to check the condition of the equipment prior to use. It is relatively easy for people to spot and report signs of damage, overheating and misuse.


The most important monitoring of portable appliances is through a regular formal visual inspection. This should be carried out by someone who has been properly trained to perform a more thorough check of the equipment. This may include examining plugs, fuses, flexible cables, and cable clamping arrangements etc.

Formal visual inspection

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Combined Inspection and Testing

Faults may arise in electrical equipment that may not be readily apparent. For example, internal damage may result from misuse or internal electrical connections may deteriorate over time. One way to identify such defects is through an electrical testing which is commonly done by using a portable appliance test instrument (a “PAT” tester). In low risk environments, a properly trained, competent person can perform these tests using a suitable PAT tester on appliances disconnected from the electrical supply.