Do you need to be a qualified Electrician to take a PAT Test?

According to the provisions of law, an individual must be considered a competent person to undertake a PAT test. Page 13 of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) Code of Practice (Third edition) outlines the factors that qualify someone for being a PAT tester:

  • They must possess adequate knowledge about electricity.
  • They must be experienced with electrical work.
  • They must have some understanding of the system on which they intend to work, as well as practical experience working with that type of system.
  • They must be aware of the hazards they could face when working on that system and the precautions they’ll need to take.
  • They must always be able to recognise whether they can safely continue working.

Most electricians are able to satisfy these conditions for carrying out a PAT test. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask your electrician to make sure. In addition to above the criteria, anyone taking a PAT training course would need to be regarded as adequately competent to perform PAT testing. Furthermore, the training course must be delivered by another individual who is qualified to provide instruction on PAT testing.

To certify that the individual has indeed gained the necessary knowledge on PAT testing, they are required to undergo a knowledge test, which should be evaluated by the instructor.

Whether knowledgeable about electricity and electrical appliances or not, anyone who uses electrical equipment is responsible for having PAT testing carried out. This includes administrators with a responsibility for electrical maintenance, as well as building service managers and company directors who must ensure that PAT testing is undertaken on their businesses.

Passing the PAT test will require an individual to be familiar with the IEE Code of Practice. Training typically takes about 40 hours; upon completion of the training course, the individual in question will receive the appropriate certification. Once the training has been completed and the relevant certification presented, the individual can then carry out PAT testing, as they will be considered competent to do so.

Before anyone can perform PAT testing on your electrical appliances at home (or at your business premises), it might well be prudent to ask them to present certification as proof that they’ve completed a PAT testing course and are competent to carry out the relevant test.

It is your duty as an employer, manager or administrator to ensure your electrical appliances and equipment are left in good hands. Protecting your visitors or employees from electrical hazards goes beyond simply having your equipment PAT tested. You’ll also need to make sure that whoever is carrying out said testing is properly qualified to do so.

You might choose to outsource the testing to a company that specialises in performing such checks or you could even train some employees and have them take the course which certifies them for PAT testing. In essence, anyone can perform a PAT test, as long as they are considered competent as per the law.