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Topic Title: "Competence" required for portable appliance testing
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Created On: 01 April 2016 08:07 PM
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 01 April 2016 08:07 PM
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I am a volunteer at a steam museum, a charity run by volunteers and open to the public. We are currently restarting our portable appliance testing after the testing machine developed a fault and the previous volunteer left.

We are mostly professional engineers, many registered, in various disciplines, mostly retired and electrically competent but not electricians. We are purchasing a new machine (Seaward) as the old one will cost as much to repair and calibrate.

The person who has volunteered to do the testing is an aeronautical engineer by profession and has a good understanding of the theoretical side of PAT testing, e.g. legal requirements, risk analysis, types of equipment, types of testing, record keeping requirements, etc. However the regulations state that the person doing the testing should be "competent".

Can anyone advise as to what we would need to show if there was a need to demonstrate "competence"?

 01 April 2016 11:07 PM
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I suspect that the person to whom you refer is in practice competent to carry out PAT testing.
It might however be worth while for them to attend one of the courses that are offered, often known disparagingly as "half day wonders"
I have little faith in someone already competent actually gaining much from such a course, but they do provide a useful bit of paper for a**e covering and for satisfying insurance companies.
 05 April 2016 08:47 AM
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I am a tutor on the City And Guilds 2377 which has the objective of accrediting competence for those undertaking the practical element of PAT. At my insistence the centre offers the course over two days as I was keen to avoid the half day wonder label that Broadage refers to. It sounds from your description of the volunteer that he could take the chalk from me!


Lyle Dunn
 05 April 2016 10:15 AM
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You may find it useful to review the PAT required, the frequency etc. as these should be based on the previous incidence of problems or faults found. There is no sensible requirement for it to be yearly, in cases of roughly treated equipment it may be much more frequent, and if no faults have ever been identified then a much longer period is indicated. Most of the people carrying out PAT have no concept of the job, which is mainly one of inspection (which they fail at very badly), and the machine tests are just QA on the connections and cable in case of undisclosed faults, which are rare. I expect that Lyle needs two days to teach very basic electricity to the students, a little guided practice on a few appliances is sufficient for anyone with basic knowledge. I'm afraid I would consider such a training certificate as no proof that the job was actually competent, to make money these people try to do 30 - 40 items an hour, which means no inspection!



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