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PAT legislation

The legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance is:
  • The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
  • The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
  • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Legislation

3.1 General
3.2 Scope of the legislation
3.3 Who is responsible?
3.1 General
This Code of Practice has been prepared by the Institution of Electrical Engineers with a view to determining the inspections and tests necessary to ensure that electrical equipment is maintained properly so as to prevent danger. Although reference is made to legislation, this chapter should not be considered as legal advice. In cases of doubt, the specific legislation mentioned should be consulted and legal advice obtained.
In recent years the responsibilities for safety of persons at work have been prescribed in much legislation. The legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Heulth and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 puts a duty of care upon both employer (sections 2, 3 and 4 etc) and employee (section 7) to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self-employed.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state:
"Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of

(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work, and

(b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking”. (Regulation 3(1))"


The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 state:
“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided”. (Regulation 4(1))
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) cover most risks that can result from using work equipment. With respect to risks from electricity, compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is likely to achieve compliance with PUWER regulations 5-9, 19 and 15.

PUWER only applies to work equipment used by workers at work. This includes all work equipment (fixed, portable or transportable) connected to a source of electrical energy. PUWER does not apply to the fixed installations in a building. The electrical safety of these installations is dealt with only by the Electricity at Work Regulations.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state:
"As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger". (Regulation 4(2))

"'System' means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment”. (Regulation 2(1))

"Electrical equipment includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy ." (Regulation 2(1))
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3.2 Scope of the legislation
It is clear that the combination of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 apply to all electrical equipment used in, or associated with, places of work. The scope extends from distribution systems, be they 400 kV or simply those in buildings, down to the smallest piece of electrical equipment such as a hairdryer, a VDU, a telephone or even in some situations battery-operated equipment.
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3.3 Who is responsible?
Everyone at work has their responsibilities including, in certain circumstances, trainees. However, because of the all-embracing responsibilities of all persons this does not minimise the duties of particular persons. Regulation 3 of the Electricity at Work Regulations recognises a responsibility (control) that employers and many employees have for electrical systems.
"It shall be the duty of every employer and self-employed person to comply with the provisions of these Regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his control."
It shall be the duty of every employee while at work:
(a) to co-operate with his employer so far as is necessary to enable any duty placed on that employer by the provisions of these Regulations to be complied with; and

(b) to comply with the provisions of these Regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his control."
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 requires every employer to ensure that equipment is suitable for the use for which it is provided (Reg 4(1)) and only used for work for which it is suitable (Reg 4(3)). They require every employer to ensure equipment is maintained in good order (Reg 5) and inspected as necessary to ensure it is maintained in a safe condition (Reg 6).

This Code of Practice considers normal business premises such as shops, offices and workplaces and restricts advice to non-specialist installations and equipment that are commonly encountered.

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