PAT Testing.

Anything relevant

PAT Testing.

Postby potson » 06 Jun 2013, 16:29

Hello Everyone, hope you're all well. I was hoping that someone might be able to offer some advice. I have some shows coming up and I have been informed that I need to get my sound system PAT Tested. This isn't something that I have been asked before although looking into it I see that it is indeed a responsibility that I need to take care of. My system is very small, but it plugs into mains so needs to be PAT tested.
I have done several searches on google, all I can find is companies that specialize in PAT testing for other big companies/schools etc. I literally want to test my system and the extension cord, 2 or 3 items at the most.
Does anyone else have any experience of this, maybe one of you could point me in the right direction? I am based in Manchester.
Thanks.
User avatar
potson
Chipolata
Chipolata
 
Posts: 16
Joined: 22 Aug 2010, 09:43
Location: Lancashire

Re: PAT Testing.

Postby Chris » 06 Jun 2013, 21:16

Unless you are working in theatres or TV studios you shouldn't have any problems. I've never had anything PAT tested in the past 50 years. But to comply with the law to the letter then you should.

Check your local paper for electricians near you. Preferably choose one NAPIT approved (NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROFESIONAL INSPECTORS & TESTERS). They will test your portable equipment, usually at a very modest cost. After all it's only a common sense examination - does the wire look frayed, is the plug secure - is the position of the cable a hazard etc. Last month I was having some safety lights renewed in the theatre. I asked about PAT testing and the electrician said he charged £1 per item. I was asking about two oil filled radiators I had just bought and because they were on castors and could be unplugged were technically portable equipment. The electrician took one look at them and said "They don't need PAT testing - they are obviously new and in good nick." He also mentioned that equipment only needed to be tested if the public had access to it, or was so placed that they were likely to come in contact with it.

What it is handy to carry is an Earth Residual Current Device (RCD plug) - a safety plug which plugs into a mains socket, and you plug your equiment into this. It is designed to cut out if there is a short. I have been in venues where they insist these be used, although the ones who do often have such a device built into their socket.

I always use one of these RCDs when using an electric drill or hand held electrical garden tools.
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3251
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: PAT Testing.

Postby Chris » 06 Jun 2013, 21:27

In case you can't find someone local (and you should have no problem) you could try this company:
http://www.pat-testing-company.co.uk/
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3251
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: PAT Testing.

Postby potson » 07 Jun 2013, 10:26

Thanks for all that information Chris, very interesting reading. I will follow your advice and will definitely pick up an RCD plug :D
User avatar
potson
Chipolata
Chipolata
 
Posts: 16
Joined: 22 Aug 2010, 09:43
Location: Lancashire

Re: PAT Testing.

Postby Tony James » 07 Jun 2013, 22:47

If you go on the internet you will find under Electrical Safety and PAT a government HSE site which makes the advice very clear.

PAT testing is not a legal requirement. Remember, this isn't commercial electrical plant but portable appliances. To my delight and surprise the guidance is very sensible. All that needs checking is the condition of plugs and cables. That's it. Are they secure and undamaged?

Who does it? You or someone you appoint, having explained to them what they have to do and watch for. You do not need an electrician to test for you. It clearly says so.

How often? Every couple of years.

I would suspect most of us use electrical equipment for PA systems. And again, most of us probably have dual power sources in PA systems - batteries and mains. The only time I normally use mains is to recharge the batteries. There are rarely power sockets in fields or in town centres nor these days, any available in shopping centres. The have them but they are no longer sited where we can use them. So it's the internal batteries we use.

Anything run off batteries is exempt.

In any case, if the appliance is in the frame where the public has no access, testing isn't required.

However, if some ill informed officious busybody comes snooping say nothing. Any electrical trade suppliers will supply strips of heavy duty, self adhesive 'tested' labels which you date and initial with a pen and apply to the appliance. Once that's seen you should have no further problem.
Tony James

Magic With A Punch!
User avatar
Tony James
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 664
Joined: 08 Aug 2006, 21:22
Location: Cheshire UK

Re: PAT Testing.

Postby Chris » 07 Jun 2013, 23:28

I wish you'd just left things as I answered them Tony. While it is true that anyone can do an internet search it is not true that anyone can do PAT testing. You say they do not have to be an electrician which is not true. They have to be competant to a degree where I would call them an electrician:
The IEE Code of Practice states, those carrying out the inspection and testing must be competent to undertake the inspection and, where appropriate, testing of electrical equipment and appliances having due regard of their own safety and that of others. What should be considered is that the 'danger' to be prevented, includes not just the dangers which may arise during the testing procedure to the tester and others, but also the dangers which may arise at a later date as a result of using equipment which has not been effectively tested.

The tester must have an understanding of the modes of electrical, mechanical or thermal damage to electrical equipment and appliances and their flexes which may be encountered in any environment.

Training must include the identification of equipment and appliance types to determine the test procedures and frequency of inspection and testing. Persons testing must be familiar with the test instruments used and in particular their limitations and restrictions so as to achieve repeatable results without damaging the equipment or the appliance.


The point is, if there were to be an accident of some kind where you were being accused of negligence regarding your electrics you are going to be on very dodgy ground if your equipment were to be examined, found faulty and self tested and self certified.

Of course if you are satisfied with your own expertise then fine - but I think yours is bad advice in general and especially ill informed is:
Any electrical trade suppliers will supply strips of heavy duty, self adhesive 'tested' labels which you date and initial with a pen and apply to the appliance.

In an incident what a gift to an insurance assessor looking for a reason to refuse a claim!

It is one thing to not have your equipment tested, whilst, having the necessary knowledge, maintining your equipment in good order. It is quite another to try to give the impression that it has in fact been professionally tested.

Whilst it may not be a legal requirement from the HSE point of view it may well be a contractual requirement. Also some premises demand proof of PAT.
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3251
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: PAT Testing.

Postby Tony James » 08 Jun 2013, 13:03

Sorry Chris. I never doubt the veracity of what you say. But the HSE was where I obtained my information.

http://www.stedmundsbury.anglican.org/a ... esting.pdf

Naturally, you have additional considerations as you run a theatre.

For the rest of us we're simply travelling entertainers with low risk portable equipment of the sort described in this HSE pdf. Usually PA systems which runs off batteries outside and batteries or mains inside.

Battery powered is exempt.

Take my own situation which cannot be unusual. I use a PA which I carry with the batteries fully charged. It goes out of the car into the frame where the public has no access. At the end of the day I take it back to the digs where I plug in and recharge.

A visual inspection as described in this HSE pdf is all that is required. To record the inspections I apply a sticker as would any other party inspecting. This is not in any way suggesting that this equipment has been subject to some unnecessary professional inspection. It is merely a reminder of when it was last done. That's all stickers ever are. It informs any 'busybody' seeing the inspection sticker that it has been inspected - as per the guidelines - so it is consequently highly unlikely for them to raise any questions. As for insurance companies, there are no 'field days' for them to have as the equipment has been inspected as the guidelines recommend (and remember these are guidelines and not laws) and the reminder sticker applied.

Having said all that, no one has ever raised PAT with me and presumably not with Chris either - at least not for the last 50 years as he said!

I don't know how anyone else checks and inspects their show but I check my frame every time it is built up and again every time it is pulled down. That will vary - each day, weekend or several days depending on the event duration. On runs just my frame stays in place. Everything else is checked twice a day on build up and pull down - cover, playboard, showfront and the PA system.

My figures are checked at least twice a day or six times or eight, according to the number of daily performances and the individual figure usage. In other words, every time I hang them or rehang or pack them away. I'm looking for paint damage and any costume wear or damage. It's just part of the job and because I'm lazy - in the long run a stitch in time really does save nine. And it is usually a lot easier to attend to minor frame needs on the spot rather than pack and take it on to the next event and have to do it there before you can build up. The only occasion I would hesitate is when pulling down in the pouring rain when it might be dry in the morning at the next place.

I thought the HSE pdf very clear and sensible and quite straightforward.
Tony James

Magic With A Punch!
User avatar
Tony James
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 664
Joined: 08 Aug 2006, 21:22
Location: Cheshire UK

Re: PAT Testing.

Postby Chris » 08 Jun 2013, 13:50

Yes Tony you have just demonstrated my point. You have used an internet search to find something nearly relevant and then posted your inaccurate interpretation suggesting it to be authoratitive.
The HSE leaflet from which you took your information was "Advice on Maintaining portable electric
equipment in offices and other low-risk environments" whereas you suggested it was about legal requirements for PAT testing.
Nobody was asking about safety in the office or other low risk environments, we are talking about demonstrating the safety of equipment to be used in places where the public are admitted - high risk areas such as schools, play centres, community halls etc.

My advice to Potson, and anyone else with similar worries, is to frequently check that any electrical equipment you use is always in a safe condition. If you do not have the necessary electrical knowledge yourself then employ someone who does.
You probably will never need to demonstrate that your equipment is safe and that you have checked this. However to be on the safe side and cover yourself it can be quite inexpensive to have a local NAPIT approved electrician give your equipment the once over and attach his little labels of reassurance.

By all means follow Tony's practice of checking his figures up to eight times a day "looking for paint damage and any costume wear or damage" if you are similarly obsessive, but please don't take his advice on faking PAT test labelling which, although unlikely, could just backfire on you.
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3251
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: PAT Testing.

Postby Tony James » 12 Jun 2013, 14:36

Chris wrote:........please don't take his advice on faking PAT test labelling which, although unlikely, could just backfire on you.


I never suggested 'faking' anything. A sticker indicating when you last checked the appliance - which is precisely what the HSE guidelines state - is no more than a date reminder for next time. It says what it says and that's all. Just as a sticker under the bonnet of your car is a reminder about fluid checks and changes.

Chris wrote:high risk areas such as schools, play centres, community halls etc.


Good heavens, has something recently changed in these places? Should parents be alarmed? Of course not. Schools must be amongst the safest cotton wool areas people can be in. Virtually everything has been banned - playground games, conkers, climbing, you name it.

I'm afraid there really is very little point entering into a discussion when Chris gets one on him and refuses to see any alternative. Which is unlike the normal Chris who famously set out to challenge regulations, standing up and shouting the odds because he believed (and not without just cause) that interpretations were wrong.

CRB, Licencing, Risk Assessments, Professional Indemnity Insurance (not certain Chris managed to get going on that one before it faded away to be followed by the equally short-lived demand for vehicle insurance certificates and MOT certificates before your vehicle would be allowed entry to a showground.) Now it's PAT testing.

Only this time it's Chris who is falling over backwards, appearing to ignore the HSE's own commonsense approach and insisting on applying the most rigorous interpretations as if our PA systems (are we talking about any other appliances in a P&J show?) were going to be capable of being interfered with by the public.

It has taken a reinterpretation of guidelines to sort out the all round confusion applied to electrical safety and the HSE guideline I quoted on PAT tests was another step in the debunking of misunderstandings. That's why it is written as it is.

Anyway - it's not worth arguing about. Ignore anything I have said. Take notice only of Chris.

Do as Chris says - but hopefully, not as Chris does!

Chris wrote:I've never had anything PAT tested in the past 50 years.
Tony James

Magic With A Punch!
User avatar
Tony James
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 664
Joined: 08 Aug 2006, 21:22
Location: Cheshire UK


Return to Punch Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron