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Is PAT testing a legal requirement?

The answer is No...

We have seen many websites, assessors and other individuals claiming portable appliance testing is a legal requirement and must be carried out on a yearly basis, some even going as far to claim you will be prosecuted if you do not carry it out which is nothing more than dishonest business practices and frustrating every time we see it.

What is the law on portable appliance testing?

​The legislation in question The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 which require any piece of electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition but the regulations do not actually state how you should achieve this....portable appliance testing is just one way of achieving this.

How often should I have portable appliances tested?


​Again those that look to profit from carrying out testing and others that are mis-informed will tell you it has to be carried out every 12 months by law...again this is wrong.

It all depends on the type of equipment being used and the frequency it is used and the HSE has provided a guide on test frequencies which are "suggested intervals" not law.

You can download a copy here HSE Maintaining Portable Electrical Equipment


Do I need to label all equipment that has been tested and keep records?

There is no legal requirement to label your equipment or keep any records of testing, however it is good practice to do so if you are ever required to prove the state of the equipment under The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

I have been told I need to test new equipment?

Again you have been mis-informed as the equipment is expected to be sold in a safe condition therefore testing is not required, however you can carry out a visual inspection to ensure no damage has occurred in transit or installation.

Who can carry out portable appliance testing?

Anyone who is competent, has the correct test equipment and understands the results can carry out the testing which can even be a member of your own staff who has had sufficient training to do so.

We hope some of your questions around portable appliance testing have been answered and next time you are told it is a legal requirement and should be carried out every year by law you will be in a position to correct those that are telling you that.

Any questions about anything we have stated please do not hesitate to get in touch at

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