Electrical hazards and control
Advantages and limitations of portable appliance testing
The advantages of portable appliance testing include:
• an earlier recognition of potentially serious equipment faults, such as poor earthing, frayed and damaged cables and cracked plugs
• discovery of incorrect or inappropriate electrical supply and/or equipment
• discovery of incorrect fuses being used
• a reduction in the number of electrical accidents
• the misuse of portable appliances may be monitored
• equipment selection procedures can be checked
• an increased awareness of the hazards associated with electricity
• a more regular maintenance regime should result.
The limitations of portable appliance testing include:
• some fixed equipment is tested too often leading to excessive costs
• some unauthorized portable equipment, such as personal kettles, are never tested since there is no record of them
• equipment may be misused or over-used between tests due to a lack of understanding of the meaning of the test results
• all faults, including trivial ones, are included on the action list so that the list becomes very long and the more significant faults are forgotten or overlooked
• the level of competence of the tester can be too low
• the testing equipment has not been properly calibrated and/or checked before testing takes place.
Most of the limitations may be addressed and the reduction in electrical accidents and injuries enables the advantages of portable appliance testing to greatly outweigh the limitations.