Portable Appliance Testing Regulations
THE ELECTRICITY AT WORK REGULATIONS 1989
The Electricity at Work Regulations places a legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the regulations and take reasonable steps to ensure that no danger results from the use of such equipment. This in effect requires the implementation of a systematic and regular programme of maintenance, inspection and testing.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states:
"All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger."
"As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger."
"'System' means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment"
"'Electrical Equipment' includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy."
THE HEALTH & SAFETY AT WORK ACT
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 puts the duty of care upon both the employer and the employee to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self employed.
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1989 states:
"Every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessment of:
(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst at work, and
(b) the risks to ensure the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him or his undertaking."
The Health & Safety at Work Act places such an obligation in the following circumstances:
Where appliances are used by employees
Where the public may use appliances in establishments such as hospitals, schools, hotels, shops etc.
Where appliances are supplied or hired
Where appliances are repaired or serviced
THE PROVISION & USE OF WORK EQUIPMENT REGULATIONS 1998
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 states:
"Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair."
The PUWER 1998 covers most risks that can result from using work equipment. With respect to risks from electricity, compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is likely to achieve compliance with the PUWER 1998.
PUWER 1998 only applies to work equipment used by workers at work. This includes all work equipment (fixed, transportable or portable) connected to a source of electrical energy. PUWER does not apply to fixed installations in a building. The electrical safety of these installations is dealt with only by the Electricity at Work Regulations.
The level of inspection and testing required is dependant upon the risk of the appliance becoming faulty, which is in turn dependant upon the type of appliance, the nature of its use and the environment in which it is used.