Fixed Electrical Installations and Portable Electrical Appliances


Robert Gordon University has a duty to ensure that all equipment that is provided for use by staff and students is suitable for its intended use and is maintained to ensure that it is safe.

In addition, there is a duty under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 that ‘all (electrical) systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger’. In order to comply with this Regulation, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advise employers to have an ongoing programme of ‘formal visual inspection’ and ‘formal visual inspection and safety testing’. This is more generally known at Portable Appliance Testing, or PAT.

There are varying levels of inspection and testing for electrical equipment which are conducted to different degrees by different individuals and range from user checks to combined inspection and testing. The HSE estimate that 95% of electrical faults with electrical equipment can be found by just visually inspecting the equipment i.e. by user checks.

The Procedure below describes what is expected from Schools and Departments with regards to inspecting portable electrical equipment. This includes guidance on competencies for personnel undertaking the different levels of testing, test criteria, testing frequencies and the importance of record keeping.

The guidance document is a step by step guide to the steps required to undertake a Formal Visual Inspection and is there to assist those persons who have been nominated by their School/Department to undertake Formal Visual Inspections. The guidance has been reproduced by kind permission of Safety and Environmental Protection Services, University of Glasgow. The guidance is not for those persons undertaking the combined inspection and test and they will require a greater level of training which is outlined in the procedure.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) Procedure (PDF 294KB)

Portable Appliance Testing Guidance (PDF 387KB)