Portable appliance testing.
HSE PAT – Portable appliance testing FAQs
I think this will be helpful for you to understand the legal position with regards to Portable appliance testing. in particular the case studies are particularly useful . The high street travel agent senaryo draws attention to the “vacuum cleaner” which really needs employes to do a visual inspection on each use as the cable is subject heavy use . Where as the “fax machine” which does not move, isn’t tested other than a visual inspection every 5 years.
Yearly testing is just as bad at guaranteeing the safety of a car by MOT ,It only has any real value at the instant the test is done , as soon as the as the car leaves the test station it can become dangerous.
The key to sensible maintenance for safety, is continual risk assessment and putting sensible inspections and testing in place to reduce the risk.
So for the entertainment industry think:-
Does the equipment get moved?
If not does it fit the “fax machine” scenario ?
Then a sensible inspection/testing arrangement would be a visual inspection every 5 years
If it does get moved, is the gear likely to be damaged during transit?
Is it well protected ?
Most “pro gear” is protected in purpose built flight cases which are specifically designed to prevent damage from the handling expected during transit. Even so a visual inspection is a wise measure every time it is taken out of the case . If it shows any signs of physical damage then the inspection and testing must go further to check for internal damage. both mechanical and electrical. At this time It would be wise to to have the applicable electrical safety tests done, by a person or testing house who know what is sensible for the particular type of gear. To account for insulation breakdown and other progressive electrical safety degradation which may go unseen electrical safety testing is wise. the period between tests is dependant on the type of gear , the use it is put to , how it is transported , how it is stored and the gears history
If the equipment is not well protected ,
“The guitar amp on the back seat without any measure to stop it being thrown around”. Then a much more thorough visual check should be done on arrival at the stage . In addition it would be wise to to have the applicable electrical tests done, by a person or testing house who know what is sensible for the particular type of gear, after a number of transits. If it were possible this grade of testing would be great before every use to reduce the risk as far as it is possible to do. As well as testing for the above reasons, to account for insulation breakdown and other progressive electrical safety degradation which may go unseen electrical safety testing is wise. the period between tests is dependant on the type of gear , the use it is put to , how it is transported , how it is stored and the gears history .
The biggest source of faults which cause electrical safety issues are mains flexes
With iec cables and other free cables. The areas where faults are most likely are:-
The state of the connectors, cracked or otherwise damaged
The point where the cable goes into the connectors caused by work hardening of the conductor and insulation.
Damage long the length of the caused by sharp objects and squeezing.
Degradation over time of the insulation .
In addition extension cables are likely to suffer from overheating when they are used wound up or covered. The worst offender for this is extension cables wound on drums while they are being used . watch out for the catering people and their 3kw tea urns
On equipment with flexes which are permanently fixed to them . The point where the cable goes into the case is even more prone to damage due to to work hardening of the conductor and insulation. This is the result of the cable being poorly wound during transit and storage.
As not all results of this type of damage are obvious.
So this is the area which should be inspected and tested the most. Here to, the period between tests is dependant on the type of gear , the use it is put to , how it is transported , how it is stored and the gears history .