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Topic Title: Portable appliance testing Scheduling
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Created On: 30 October 2013 02:26 PM
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 30 October 2013 02:26 PM
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nchapman1990

Posts: 12
Joined: 26 March 2013

Hi,
i'm seeking some advice as i'm not trying to reinvent the wheel.
i'm a sole electrician working for a large world wide company. I am based at one site containing 7 buildings and have the sole responsibility of managing the PAT. currently I do the whole site in one bulk but there is approx. 5000 items and this takes around 3 month and I get a large backlog of work. Do any other companies tackle this differently and could help me out please. for example nominate one day a week to be PAT day ect. any help would be greatly appreciated
 30 October 2013 02:51 PM
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Legh

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Joined: 17 December 2004

Welcome to the forum

I hope you like PAT as you've got an interesting task ahead of you.

Do you have the latest copy of 'the code of practice for inspection and testing in-service electrical equipment' ?

It would appear, as the duty holder, that you will be responsible for scheduling the frequency of inspections for different types of equipment in different environments.

Legh

-------------------------

http://www.leghrichardson.co.uk

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 30 October 2013 03:03 PM
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nchapman1990

Posts: 12
Joined: 26 March 2013

hi Legh,

Thankyou for the welcome

Yes, the company has upto date regulations and the latest code of practice. I currently do the pat and in all honesty I hate it but its my job

im trying to find a more feasible and practical method of tackling all 5000 items
 30 October 2013 03:18 PM
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AJJewsbury

Posts: 13413
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It's many years since I did any serious appliance testing - but then I just did it in drips and drabs when other things were quiet (or at least less hectic) - all driven by the asset register - keeping a close eye on the next test due dates of course.

There's been quite a overhaul of the guidance recently (within the last year) - heavily weighted to making the point that you (almost certainly) don't need to be testing every appliance every year. A lot depends on your particular circumstances, but for example - is it likely that something like a desktop PC that's hardly ever moved, is going to deteriorate to an unsafe state within a year? or three years even? The office kettle on the other hand is probably a much higher risk. If you've been testing 5000 items a year, you've probably got some pretty good data to refer to (how many failures have you had, what sort of failure and what sort of appliance). Things like hand held tools on construction sites might go the opposite extreme of course and might well warrant much more frequent inspection/testing.

So basically what I'm saying is work out how often you really need to test each appliance (if at all) and make sure it's retested within that period - how that's done is entirely up to you. If it was me I'd probably set up a spreadsheet so I could sort things on next test date. I'm sure there's plenty of fancy software out there that'll do the same - probably downloading data direct from your tester etc - which would do the same much more smoothly. If you've got large groups of similar appliances - you could look at arranging things to smooth out the workload over a whole cycle - e.g. 1st six months all the twice-a-year equipment, the first half of the once-a-year stuff and the first 1/6th of the once-in-three-years stuff. 2nd six months, all the twice-a-year equipment, the second half of the once-a-year stuff and the second 1/6th of the once-in-three-years stuff and so on.

- Andy.
 30 October 2013 03:46 PM
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jsa986

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To touch on what AJ has said, all your 5000 will not need testing, and certainly not each year.
Prioritise the important items, hand tools, kettles or items that the public are exposed to or ,equipment/tools that may require pat testing before its allowed on there premises for insurance purposes etc. By now your 5000 items is more like 1000

-------------------------
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 30 October 2013 03:49 PM
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nchapman1990

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Joined: 26 March 2013

Hi Andy,

thank you for your reply

I don't do every item every year because of the retest dates for IT equipment ect, but every room in each building has a variety of different items. so one room may have a retest date with yearly items, 2 yearly items and 4 yearly items. so each room must be visited for the obvious reasons.

The trouble is the retest periods are from July through to September with the exception of a few items in December due to xmas decorations. so during those periods im looking for these items in the locations they were in the previous year(s) and it creates such a back log of other works. what im trying to find out is if other companies have it spread throughout the year or whether they do the work in bulk blocking as I am currently. both methods have their advantages and disadvantage but there must be a easier way of tackling this.

Do I scrap the way its been done and redo everything again but do so many items once per week so it creates a more manageable way of tackling it or do I continue with the way its done but from a company point of view is not cost effective as we need to outsource major works whilst im testing. with me being the sole electrician on site I also have other responsibilities for example, emergency lighting testing and repairs, installation works and general maintenance, so you could see how the once a year bulk is not working quite effectively.
 30 October 2013 05:31 PM
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AJJewsbury

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Do I scrap the way its been done and redo everything

Maybe evolutionary rather than revolutionary - e.g. During Oct - Jan retest the appliances that would be due the following July (5-10 months early), Feb-May do the August ones, and Jun-Sep do the September ones. In each case, one month's effort spread over four months. Then just keep going...
- Andy.
 30 October 2013 10:01 PM
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cmatheson

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You are in the position of having to assess and decide how and how often the appliances are inspected and tested and there is no way that you can do the job alone.

You will need to find out from the users what the service conditions are and that may change any day so you will need input from the users or the 'owners'.

Most large companies will already have 'asset registers' used by purchasing, accounts and facilities management. Make use of that information to make sure that you are aware of when the assets arrive, move or have a change of use. Also you will need to be informed of any faults observed by the users and make sure you have a system in place to ensure that happens and that your test schedule is updated accordingly.

Don't forget that the most important part of the exercise is the actual inspection part as opposed to the plugging into the test device and the sticky labels.

Good luck!

-------------------------
Chris Matheson MInstMC
 04 November 2013 02:16 PM
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nchapman1990

Posts: 12
Joined: 26 March 2013

Hi Again,

Firstly thank you all again for the replies,

Im not sure if iv cracked how im going to undertake it in the future but here is my plan. any input would be appreciated.

I have 6 buildings currently the 7th building being used for storage at the moment.
so the plan is

Building 1 has 310 yearly items (currently )
470 four yearly items

so in year 1: 310 items to test
year 2: 310
year 3: 310
year 4: 780
and because the company doesn't want me solely PAT I have allocated one day a week to do these items.
approx. 100 items per day can be tested. so using this information I have allocated building 1 to months January and February .

Building 2 has 570 yearly items
150 four yearly items

so year1: 570
year2: 570
year3: 570
year 4: 720
using that info I have allocated building 2 months March and April

Building 3 has 170 yearly items
130 four yearly items

so year 1: 170
year 2 : 170
year 3: 170
year 4: 300

building 4: 450 yearly
630 four yearly

so year1 : 450
year 2 : 450
year 3 : 450
year 4 : 1080
so allocated months june, july and august

Building 5 250 yearly items
900 four yearly items

year 1: 250
year2: 250
year 3: 250
year 4: 1150

so allocated months September, October, and November

and building 6 has 130 Yearly
110 four yearly

year 1: 130 items
year 2: 130
year 3: 130
year 4: 240

and allocated month December for this.

all number of items has been rounded up to the nearest multiple of 10 to make calculations easier.

does anyone believe this is a harder way to do this or does anyone know of an easier way? this isn't in play at the moment and is just in the planning stages. again any help will be appreciated.
 04 November 2013 05:35 PM
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AJJewsbury

Posts: 13413
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You seem to be storing up a lot of work for "year 4" in each of the buildings - I would have thought that spreading the once-in-4-year appliances more evenly around the 4-year schedule (even if it means testing some early just this once) would better preserve your sanity.

- Andy.
 04 November 2013 07:01 PM
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daveparry1

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I think i'd rather be stacking shelves somewhere Andy!!

Dave.
 02 January 2016 03:22 AM
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kenuk

Posts: 10
Joined: 02 January 2016

Originally posted by: AJJewsbury

It's many years since I did any serious appliance testing - but then I just did it in drips and drabs when other things were quiet (or at least less hectic) - all driven by the asset register - keeping a close eye on the next test due dates of course.



There's been quite a overhaul of the guidance recently (within the last year) - heavily weighted to making the point that you (almost certainly) don't need to be testing every appliance every year. A lot depends on your particular circumstances, but for example - is it likely that something like a desktop PC that's hardly ever moved, is going to deteriorate to an unsafe state within a year? or three years even? The office kettle on the other hand is probably a much higher risk. If you've been testing 5000 items a year, you've probably got some pretty good data to refer to (how many failures have you had, what sort of failure and what sort of appliance). Things like hand held tools on construction sites might go the opposite extreme of course and might well warrant much more frequent inspection/testing.



So basically what I'm saying is work out how often you really need to test each appliance (if at all) and make sure it's retested within that period - how that's done is entirely up to you. If it was me I'd probably set up a spreadsheet so I could sort things on next test date. I'm sure there's plenty of fancy software out there that'll do the same - probably downloading data direct from your tester etc - which would do the same much more smoothly. If you've got large groups of similar appliances - you could look at arranging things to smooth out the workload over a whole cycle - e.g. 1st six months all the twice-a-year equipment, the first half of the once-a-year stuff and the first 1/6th of the once-in-three-years stuff. 2nd six months, all the twice-a-year equipment, the second half of the once-a-year stuff and the second 1/6th of the once-in-three-years stuff and so on.



- Andy.


I have had quite a few PC power supplies blow on me, lots of electrical equipment fail, mainly down to dodgy caps etc of which there was a major problem with a while ago.

Not all PC's are built to a high standard, despite IET regulations I would not feel happy leaving them untested for years, but clients will go by what others say...
 02 January 2016 03:27 AM
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kenuk

Posts: 10
Joined: 02 January 2016

Originally posted by: nchapman1990

Hi,

i'm seeking some advice as i'm not trying to reinvent the wheel.

i'm a sole electrician working for a large world wide company. I am based at one site containing 7 buildings and have the sole responsibility of managing the PAT. currently I do the whole site in one bulk but there is approx. 5000 items and this takes around 3 month and I get a large backlog of work. Do any other companies tackle this differently and could help me out please. for example nominate one day a week to be PAT day ect. any help would be greatly appreciated


Taking into consideration time to move from item to item, time to disconnect/shut down, time to formally inspect, electrically inspect, log and document each item, if we assume a very optimistic 10 mins per item then it would take 833 hours to do the work, you must be working long days, or have more than one person working on it...
 02 January 2016 06:49 AM
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leckie

Posts: 3187
Joined: 21 November 2008

Originally posted by: kenuk

Originally posted by: AJJewsbury



It's many years since I did any serious appliance testing - but then I just did it in drips and drabs when other things were quiet (or at least less hectic) - all driven by the asset register - keeping a close eye on the next test due dates of course.







There's been quite a overhaul of the guidance recently (within the last year) - heavily weighted to making the point that you (almost certainly) don't need to be testing every appliance every year. A lot depends on your particular circumstances, but for example - is it likely that something like a desktop PC that's hardly ever moved, is going to deteriorate to an unsafe state within a year? or three years even? The office kettle on the other hand is probably a much higher risk. If you've been testing 5000 items a year, you've probably got some pretty good data to refer to (how many failures have you had, what sort of failure and what sort of appliance). Things like hand held tools on construction sites might go the opposite extreme of course and might well warrant much more frequent inspection/testing.







So basically what I'm saying is work out how often you really need to test each appliance (if at all) and make sure it's retested within that period - how that's done is entirely up to you. If it was me I'd probably set up a spreadsheet so I could sort things on next test date. I'm sure there's plenty of fancy software out there that'll do the same - probably downloading data direct from your tester etc - which would do the same much more smoothly. If you've got large groups of similar appliances - you could look at arranging things to smooth out the workload over a whole cycle - e.g. 1st six months all the twice-a-year equipment, the first half of the once-a-year stuff and the first 1/6th of the once-in-three-years stuff. 2nd six months, all the twice-a-year equipment, the second half of the once-a-year stuff and the second 1/6th of the once-in-three-years stuff and so on.







- Andy.




I have had quite a few PC power supplies blow on me, lots of electrical equipment fail, mainly down to dodgy caps etc of which there was a major problem with a while ago.



Not all PC's are built to a high standard, despite IET regulations I would not feel happy leaving them untested for years, but clients will go by what others say...


Perhaps clients should look at HSE advice. The HSE have always considered an office as a low risk environment as explained in this brief advisory information.
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg236.pdf

The code of practice has be updated to reflect similar advice regarding the requirement to test computer equipment in an office for example. The advice being that class 1 computer equipment should be tested at up to five yearly intervals.
 03 January 2016 02:48 AM
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kenuk

Posts: 10
Joined: 02 January 2016

Indeed, but the fact equipment is used in a low risk environment does not alter any issues over the safety of the actual equipment surely?

I have had two (not cheap, oddly the cheap ones never seem to blow) PC power supplies go bang one me, with smoke coming out, just in my own house...

A dodgy laptop charger, or adapter that is a death risk, will still be the same death risk in a low risk office environment as it is in higher risk enviroment. The risk being mainly its deadly to start with.

HSE and IET are making assumptions, that equipment is safe to start with, ie perfect world scenario.
 03 January 2016 10:01 AM
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Zoomup

Posts: 1829
Joined: 20 February 2014

Originally posted by: kenuk

Indeed, but the fact equipment is used in a low risk environment does not alter any issues over the safety of the actual equipment surely?



I have had two (not cheap, oddly the cheap ones never seem to blow) PC power supplies go bang one me, with smoke coming out, just in my own house...



A dodgy laptop charger, or adapter that is a death risk, will still be the same death risk in a low risk office environment as it is in higher risk enviroment. The risk being mainly its deadly to start with.



HSE and IET are making assumptions, that equipment is safe to start with, ie perfect world scenario.


Yes, if Jenny in the office covers the laptop power supply with her hand bag and it overheats and fails, there is no way of preventing such a situation. You will no doubt be told if it smokes or goes "bang". You can't insure against low quality equipment build.

Send round a memo asking for ALL reports of faulty or damaged electrical appliances like worn flexes and strange smells etc. Get the office bods to do some of the work for you.

If the firm wants to buy cheap laptop chargers then that is its lookout.

Don't overdo things or you will worry yourself into an early grave.

Or, you could do the important interesting electrics in your buildings and employ a firm of monkeys to do the boring mundane stuff, Sorted. Delegate.

P.S. Does your manager know that you have too much work to do? If not then tell him/her.



Bye,

Z.
 03 January 2016 11:12 AM
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leckie

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Kenuk

I think what the HSE have been saying for many years, and what the IET CoP has been updated to reflect, is that you must properly assess the risk, and they are effectively warning against companies scare mongering regarding the need for PAT testing.

You know the sort of thing; an all plastic Class 2 charger has been tested, etc. Now I have seen this done on so many occasions that it is ridiculous. How can a tester that references earth test anything on an all plastic piece of DI equipment? And yet it still goes on. So this type of manufacturing of work is being discouraged.

What makes you think that the tests required by the CoP would detect the faults that you report on a laptop charger? No L to N problems are likely to be detected. Just because you have had a couple of incidences does not mean that the HSE and the IET with all their statistical data, are wrong. The HSE are not normally in the habit of giving advice that leads to an increase in danger.

If you advise clients to test at more frequent intervals than the HSE/COP advice then you had better have a good reason. The visual inspection is more important and reveals more. This can often be carried out by the Duty Holder or their staff. Going back to the all plastic DI charger, it does not require a great deal of knowledge to look at it and make sure that there are no cracks to the casing does it? And that is about all you can do.

It is up to the DH to determine the inspection and testing interval and/or requirements, they may of course seek advice.

Edited: 05 January 2016 at 09:35 AM by leckie
 04 January 2016 08:31 PM
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mapj1

Posts: 6092
Joined: 22 July 2004

Note sure that a PAT style test will make a computer or laptop power supply go bang any earlier or indeed what sort of early warning you may get from one. I turn it on its head - if I have two power supplies and by some miracle of time travel can tell you that one blows up next week, and the other will run for a further 5 years - what difference do you expect to see in the PAT results ?

PAT only really finds out reckless folk who are using mangled mains cables and kit with cracked cases. Unless it happens to go bang on the day you test it, the test itself is most unlikley to do much for reliability.

By the way, IET regs have no influence at all on the build quality of PC power supplies. For that you need to look and see what standard the maker says it conforms to when he puts 'CE' on it.

-------------------------
regards Mike
 05 January 2016 09:17 AM
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AJJewsbury

Posts: 13413
Joined: 13 August 2003

I have had quite a few PC power supplies blow on me, lots of electrical equipment fail, mainly down to dodgy caps etc of which there was a major problem with a while ago.

Indeed (we've had several server PSUs go "pop" per year per machine room), but provided the c.p.c.s are intact, there shouldn't be a safety issue (shock risk at least) when they do so. So arguably not a PAT issue.

(If you want to avoid being killed by management when the servers go down unexpectedly, then dual PSUs, local fusing and good discrimination with upstream protection is the way!)

- Andy.
 05 January 2016 09:31 AM
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mapj1

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I'm inclined to agree having tried to reconstruct a few expensive failures over the years - and actually live to earth shorts are quite rare - it tends to be the mains rectifier smoothing caps that fail, by drying out or leaking conductive electrolyte goo onto the control circuit, or the mains rectifier diodes conducting backwards during an overvoltage transient, closely followed by the electrolytic capacitors demonstrating why polarity is important, and the failed diode is closely followed by the vigorous discharge of the electrolytic, and the failure of the mains fuse. (and often an effect like a cheap indoor firework) This is where discrimination either makes or breaks your day.
The other one, less common these days is the switching transistors overheating.
I've had one or two MOVs blow up, but not many. All of these manifest as an L-N near short - faults to earth are more commonly mechanical, cable trapped between cabinets type of stuff. I'm sure there will be situations that can arise where a filter capacitor fails L-E or similar, but , touch wood, I've not actually seen it as the initial failure.

-------------------------
regards Mike
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