Royal Mail Property & Facilities Solutions – RMG Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) Frequency Changes:
The main change is that RMG will move from the current general regime of 12 monthly PAT testing to 24 monthly PAT testing. Following discussions regarding the higher risk areas using bench and hand held power tools and equipment it was agreed that Vehicle Service Centres, Quadrant Facilities, RM and RMP&FS Engineering Workshops would be excluded and will receive a 6 month formal visual inspection by a competent person (PHS) and 12 monthly PAT testing. The PAT schedule has been amended to accommodate the variation. In relation to Fixed Wire Testing, there will be no change to the current situation which is a 5 yearly programme.
RMP&FS has been undertaking a national review of the frequency of Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) to reflect the level of risk based on guidance provided by the Health & Safety Executive, Fire & Rescue Service and other published guidance to ensure that a risk management approach is achieved which minimises risks associated with the use of transportable and portable electrical appliances throughout the Royal Mail Group (RMG) estate.
Future Testing Frequency:
The outcome of the review has concluded and has been subject to consultation and input from the CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department. The new testing frequencies are:
- Vehicle Service Centres – 12 monthly formal PA Tests plus 6 monthly
- Engineering Workshops formal checks performed by a specialist
- Quadrant Kitchens contractor
- All other sites/areas – 24 monthly formal PAT tests performed by a specialist contractor
What is Changing?
As part of these changes, more emphasis will be placed on pre-use checks which should be made by users of portable appliances in line with existing PIC (Person in Control) Handbook guidance. The HSE guide is provided below (HSG107 (Third edition) Published 2013) as additional reference.
The person using the equipment should be encouraged to look at it before use and check for signs that it may not be in sound condition, for example:
- Damage (apart from light scuffing) to the supply cable, including fraying or cuts;
- Damage to the plug or connector, e.g., the casing is cracking or the pins are bent;
- Inadequate joints, including taped joints in the cable;
- The outer sheath of the cable is not effectively secured where it enters the plug or the equipment. Evidence would be if the coloured insulation of the internal cable cores were showing;
- The equipment has been subjected to conditions for which it is not suitable, e.g., it is wet or excessively contaminated;
- Damage to the external casing of the equipment;
- Loose parts or screws;
- Evidence of overheating (burn marks or discolouration).
(This list is not exhaustive)
Dealing With Faulty Equipment:
Any faults found as part of the pre-use checks should be reported to the unit manager (PIC) and the equipment taken out of use immediately. Managers should take effective steps to ensure that the equipment is not used again until it is repaired or replaced; the defective equipment should be labelled as ‘faulty’ and removed from the area of work.
Available Support – RMP&FS Help Desk:
Faults should be reported and any questions or queries can be raised by contacting the Property & Facilities Solutions helpdesk on 0844 800 9191 or use the Self-Service link to report a fault via the Property & Facilities Portal at: https://selfservice.royalmailpfs.com/
Checking When An Office Is Due A Portable Appliance Test (PAT):
The Office Manager (PIC) can log into the Compliance Records Database (CRD) and view details for the office concerned for all certification including PAT records. Dates when the next PAT is due will be provided (where a six monthly visit is required the PAT programme schedule will be amended and the CRD updated to reflect this requirement). Alternatively, a call can be made to the Property & Facilities Solutions helpdesk on 0844 800 9191.
Compliance Checks and Auditing:
To ensure that the level of risk associated with the use of portable appliances throughout the RMG estate is risk managed, RMP&FS has introduced a process for an annual review of PAT test results. The review will deliver a formal three-stage process:-
- Contractor/Supplier to provide detailed records of PAT tests in a format that allows easy and accurate assessment of results. To be provided on a monthly basis and collated for an annual review of results – part of contract specification and KPI.
- Data Team (PFSL) to collate PAT results and provide detailed report for Subject Matter Experts review – data to be collated every 12 months and completed by December 31st each calendar year
- PFSL Subject Matter Expert to review collated data and perform a risk verification exercise, i.e., a low failure rate would indicate that the interval between tests/inspections can be increased whilst a high failure rate would indicate that the interval between tests/inspections should be shortened. Output of the review and recommendations will be developed and submitted to the PFSL Board by the 28th February each year for consideration and action as necessary.
- Persons in Control – will have documented processes outlining responsibilities regarding the property management and safety of staff and which includes guidance on portable appliances.
- Property Help Desk – available 24-hours, 7-days a week allows for the reporting of equipment that requires testing, replacing or repair.
- SHE Team Safety Advisors – are available to provide safety professional support and advice when necessary and can assist in the safety management processes for both staff and PICs.
- Safety Audits – are carried out by the RMG SHE Safety team and the nominated FM service provider (Property & Facilities Solutions Ltd).
PAT Testing Supplier
RMP&FS has appointed ‘PHS’ to carry out both Portable Appliance Testing and Fixed Wired Testing to agreed programmes within the RMG estate. PHS will commence the new PAT & FWT programme of scheduled inspection and testing visits on 1 April 2020.
The new PAT testing regime will formally start from 1 April 2020. However, there is an interim arrangement in place to cover the sites/areas where the 6 monthly visit is required/due. If there are any queries from our colleagues then the PFS helpdesk should be contacted in the first instance.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer